Bassist Buster Williams had one of his few opportunities to lead a record session on this diverse set which has been reissued on CD (with an alternate take of "I Dream Too Much" added to the original program). Of the six selections, Williams has a duet apiece with Kenny Barron (who plays electric piano), pianist Jimmy Rowles and vibraphonist Roy Ayers ("My Funny Valentine"). Two other numbers feature the quartet of Williams, Ayers, Barron and drummer Billy Hart while the leader's original "Prism" has the quartet joined by singer Suzanne Klewan and percussionist Nobu Urushiyama. The music ranges from slightly commercial to introspective and hard swinging, and its variety (plus an opportunity to hear bassist Williams in the lead) are two good reasons for postbop jazz collectors to pick up this CD.
Too many synth artists of the early to mid-'70s seemed more interested in demonstrating their dexterity with their instrument than actually showing why it was worth being dexterous with in the first place. The reason Tim Blake is important is because he took the opposite approach entirely. Schooled in Gong and soon to dignify Hawkwind, Blake is a composer first, a technician a very distant second. And if New Jerusalem, his solo debut, represents a peak which electronic rock in general has yet to top, Crystal Machine is at least equal to the task. In maintaining the earlier album's application of melody over mood, Blake totally separates himself from the ranks of sallow, clever souls who let their machines do all the talking – a lesson which, by year's end, both Jean Michel Jarre and Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" would both have translated into worldwide chart-toppers. More importantly, however, Blake also liberated the synth from the showroom and showman.