Web Posted - Sunday July 11, 2021
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Steelpan genius:  Anthony Williams... the making of a master

Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - ....Anthony “Tony” “Muff-Man” “Skip” Williams–Sun Valley, North Stars and Pan Am Jet North Stars (PAJNS)–is the scientist supreme of tuning and creating pans. He was master arranger, composer, innovator, leader, and a man ascribed the title by many I spoke with as “genius of the steelband.”

For the generations whom we have robbed of the knowledge of Williams, let’s set down a few markers which tell the story of the man who developed, arguably, the greatest steelband yet to interpret the calypso, European classics, jazz, among other forms of music.

....In his time from the late 1940s through the 1950s into the 1960s as leader, arranger, composer, tuner and innovator, Muff-Man converted North Stars (it was first Northern Stars) into the celebrated Pan Am Jet North Stars, initiating steelband sponsorship.

....In the 1962 Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, Williams arranged, and with his band played the “Voices of Spring”, still considered one of the greatest of renditions of European classics by a steel band.

....Of the benefits received from its sponsorship by the American airline were the several flights made by the band through the Caribbean, the USA and South America, reaching as far as Argentina. In the 1960s, the band pioneered in touring and playing at historic halls such as Madison Square Garden and the Lincoln Centre in New York.

....Pan Am Jet North Stars music is recorded on three great albums: Trinidad’s Leading Steel Orchestra, Ivory and Steel (with Winifred Atwell) and Souvenirs in Steel. The piece I love most with Atwell is her composition, “Devil’s Daughter” with the pan arrangements done by Williams..