I got turned on to Tony Williams via his incredibly expansive and ear-stretching work with the 60's Miles Davis Quintet. I'll buy anything with him on it, although I've since learned that his best work was with Miles Davis. On _Spring_, Tony's second LP as a leader, he largely sticks to brushes, and even when he doesn't, he sounds as though he is. The tempos are fairly brisk and the drum work still plenty impressive, but his playing is surprisingly quiet most of the way through this album.
Most of _Spring_ consists of interesting free-but-not-exactly-dissonant sketches with varying instrumentation. The opening "Extras" is a double-tenor affair with Sam Rivers and Wayne Shorter twisting and colliding off one another, Gary Peacock's intuitive and quick-minded bass work, Tony backing them up, and no piano. As is typical with all the music on this LP, it sounds like the musicians are really intently listening to one another. It's an intimate setting, one in which you can actually hear the sax players' pads popping. "Echo" is a 5-minute drum solo in which Tony runs through various understated rhythmic ideas in a fairly systematic way. Herbie Hancock joins in on piano for the rest of the tracks, the most overtly tuneful of which is "Love Song", which features Sam Rivers.
This album makes for interesting listening, but it's not quite as satisfying or cohesive as certain other free-but-not-quite-dissonant works such as Herbie Hancock's "The Egg" and "The Collector" (the latter of which is on the CD reissue of Wayne Shorter's _Adam's Apple_). Still, it's a worthy and fairly impressive effort.