12 December 1945, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 23 February 1997, Daly City, California, USA. Williams was raised in Boston, Massachusetts, where his father, an amateur musician, encouraged him to take up drums. Williams studied with Alan Dawson and was sitting in at local clubs before he entered his teens. At the age of 15, he was freelancing in and around Boston and had already earned the admiration of leading drummers, including Max Roach. In the early 60s he went to New York, where he played with Jackie McLean and in 1963 joined Miles Davis. With Davis, Williams rhythm section colleagues were Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter and together they made a formidable team which is still widely admired and often cited as Davis greatest unit.
During this period, both with Davis and on his many Blue Note Records recordings as leader, and sideman, Williams began reshaping modern jazz drumming, developing concepts created by some of his...
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