Reid’s playing, threads, and signature
Parker MaxxFly demonstrate his love
for the full spectrum of colors and
sounds. Photo by Petra Richterova
Although Holdsworth had played with
the Soft Machine, his big impact on the
world of guitar came with Lifetime’s Believe
It, which almost overnight became the
musician’s-musician record. On Believe It,
Holdsworth simultaneously inspired a generation and flipped them completely out!
Holdsworth was as original as McLaughlin,
but completely different. And while people
often focus on Holdsworth’s chops, to me
he’s just incredibly lyrical with this great
facility and legato feel.
Lifetime included other great guitarists
like Ted Dunbar and Ronnie Montrose.
There was even a version of Lifetime that
never recorded. It featured Ryo Kawasaki as
the guitarist. So a big part of Tony Williams’
legacy is that he loved guitar and clearly had
an ear for rock-inflected guitar. That certainly all had a giant impact on me. In many
ways, this is the music that forged who I am.
my case, play with them—certainly changed
their attitude to music in many ways.
Vernon Reid: I would say that the impact
of Lifetime is discreetly massive. Jazz-rock,
from the jazz side, actually started with the
emergence of Lifetime. Yes, you already
had improvising rock bands—from King
Crimson to the Soft Machine—and you
could even say that Hendrix’s approach was
very improvisational. You could argue that
the psychedelic era had created a space for
fusion to happen. And somewhere in there,
a young Tony Williams created his own
expression of this collision of those sounds.
The two of you also played together back
in 2001 with the Cuicoland Express.
Bruce: Vernon actually played on a record
of mine called A Question of Time around
1990. It was right around the time Living
Colour really hit when he came in and
played on a track, and I just fell in love with
his playing. Since then, whenever I’ve had a
chance to play with him, I’ve gone for it.
Reid: That happened during a time when
I was meeting a lot of my heroes—a crazy,
wonderful time in my life where I was playing with Garland Jeffreys and doing stuff
with Santana. Jack reached out to me, and