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BILL BRUFORD - One Of A Kind cover
4.39 | 31 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1979


1.Hell's Bells (3:33)
2.One of a Kind, Pt. 1 (2:20)
3.One of a Kind, Pt. 2 (4:04)
4.Travels With Myself - And Someone Else (6:13)
5.Fainting in Coils (6:33)
6.Five G (4:46)
7.The Abingdon Chasp (4:54)
8.Forever Until Sundary (5:51)
9.The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 1 (5:18)
10.The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 2 (3:24)

Total Time 45:36


- Bill Bruford / drums, percusion
- Allan Holdsworth / guitar
- Dave Stewart / keyboards
- Jeff Berlin / bass, vocals


Sam Alder narration on 5
Norman Taylor voice on 5

About this release

Polydor / EG – POLD 5020 (UK)

Recorded at Trident Studios, Soho, London; between January and February 1979

Thanks to Kazuhiro for the addition and snobb for the updates


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Saw these guys at the Atlanta Agora on tour for this album (minus Holdsworth, dammit). The guitarist was John Clark (not too shabby). I did get to see Holdsworth later on the I.O.U. tour and a rathole club called 688. (Got autographs there!)

Too young to be at the Agora, but so fortunate. I wasn't all that enthusiastic about going at first, but once the music started, I was hooked. One of the things I remember most was Jeff Berlin's picking fingers. They were moving so fast it was like nothing I've ever seen before. Almost a blur! Not just empty headed noodling, but very complex bass work. Not having the benefit of hearing this album before, I rushed out to buy it the next day (was already familiar with U.K.). This album takes off from where U.K.'s U.K. album (1978) left off probably more so than Danger Money does.

Dave Stewart's keyboard performance on this one is incredible. I still get chills listening to The Sahara of Snow. Really inspired me to take up the synthesizer a few years later. Bruford's work here really shows that a drummer isn't just a person who hangs out with musicians (joke). This was just before he started adding electronic drums and participated in the '80's reformation King Crimson. I seriously would not have expected a drummer driven project to be this good. I still prefer Holdsworth's work in other groups to what he's done on his own.

An excellent quartet here and the addition of any other musicians would probably be too much. Not that I mind any of the vocal bits done under the moniker of Bruford. This music is timeless. The compositions are rich and complex. Each tune could probably be expanded into a whole album's worth of material with good results. The music tells many tales here and vocals would be superfluous. The only music that comes to mind that compares to from this time was Steve Morse/Dixie Dregs' What If album, the song Odyssey, in particular.
Bill Bruford is a highly praised drummer within Progressive Rock circles, where he played original, complex and dynamic fills for King Crimson and Yes, but Bill has always been a jazz man in spirit and that is clearly shown throughout his solo work and diverse projects.

One of his first projects was the band named 'Bruford', a fusion group with fantastic musicians on board: fusion legend, Allan Holdsowrth on guitar, the underappreciated keyboard-master, Dave Stewart, and Jeff Berlin on bass.

While by the late 70s fusion had become both very soft and commercial with a very superficial sound, or on the contrary, it became highly technical, with no sense of emotion and not much innovation regarding composition.

One of a Kind from 1979 indeed belongs to the technical kind of fusion, but as a fan of Return to Forever, probably the originators of this technical show-off with symphonic arrangements and melodies, I find One of a Kind to be a very good album.

Besides the technically perfect execution on the compositions with various changes of tempo and time meters, plus the addition of noteworthy melodies which would become the standard for 80s fusion, it's actually the unique playing of each member that makes this album so good. Allan Holdsworth's guitar playing especially, by this time he had already found his sound and it's astonishing on this record. Stewart's keyboard performance is good with nice laid back piano and floating keys, but maybe a tad bit derivative, unlike his playing on National Health or Hatfield & the North where you find his true original sound.

I know that many despise the technical and emotionless fusion brand, but I really don't see any sin in enjoying this type of music every now and then, especially when the musicians interact so damn well and deliver memorable and grandiose melodies, rhythms and solos.

An excellent fusion album which I actually don't regard it one of the peaks of the genre, but still highly recommendable if you're into 70s fusion in the like of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, 11th House, you know the deal.
I can't tell you how relieved I am to know that there are others out there in Jazzland who enjoy this album as much as I do. When it came out in 1979 most of my friends (early Yes fans included) dismissed it without even giving it a listen even though I assured them that it never got "noisy." But then they didn't appreciate jazz/rock fusion like I did, either. Oh, well. Their loss. Back to the album. It's the only offering we got from this particular lineup of incredible musicians so it is definitely "One of a Kind." The first cut, "Hell's Bells" (no, not a cover of the AC/DC romp) gives the listeners a fine sample of what is in store for us for the next 45 minutes. The lively song is very up front and immediate-sounding and takes us through many changes, thereby avoiding becoming tiresome or formulaic. "One of a Kind," more than any other tune, reveals their respectable Return to Forever influence without ever crossing the line into copying them. There is even a xylophone playing along to add some flavor. "Pt. 2" features Bill Bruford's crisp and individualistic angularity on the drums. "Travels with Myself and Someone Else" starts out beautifully with Dave Stewart on piano and some steel guitar from Allan Holdsworth. (Yes, steel guitar on a jazz album!). It's also the first time Jeff Berlin gets to step out front and display his mastery of the fretless bass. The guy is a monster. "Fainting in Coils" is probably the most complex of all the songs with its odd, constantly changing time signatures and exhilarating accents. It travels down some intriguing roads, including one that uses finger snaps for percussion. "Five G" is my favorite because the whole group bristles right along, driving way over the posted speed limit. Berlin and Bruford lay down a hyper funky feel that's tighter than a rusted lug nut while Allan shows off his amazing guitar stylizations. Holdsworth's "The Abington Chasp" is next and it features some great harmony guitar lines and allows Bruford to shine discretely towards the end. "Forever Until Sunday" is a slow, delicate piece that features a soulful violin. It's an unaccredited performance so I don't know if it's a real violin or an excellent keyboard imitation but it lends a gorgeous tone to the song. Like other tunes on this album, it doesn't stay still for long and soon turns up the tempo and introduces a rocking guitar riff before settling down once more. "The Sahara of Snow" has a mysterious, atmospheric beginning that quickly morphs into a busy, industrious urban spirit that once again utilizes the xylophone sound. "Pt. 2" changes to more of a rock walking march and takes us to the final note.

It's worth mentioning that Bill Bruford wrote or co-wrote eight of the ten songs, showing that he is much more than an exceptional stick man. If you like inventive instrumental music that doesn't get itself bogged down in over-long virtuoso posturing then this is for you. I can promise you this. It's never boring or predictable and the musicianship is phenomenal from beginning to end.

Cold, indulgent, mechanical, the worst of rock and jazz pushed together with no thought to the proprieties of either form, all these things could be attributed to Bill Bruford's second solo record. But that's exactly where its strengths rest. Who says music has to be full of heart and soul? Almost everyone, I suppose. But therein lies the beauty of this follow-up and why it was one of the best fusion offerings of its day.

Tony Williams and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu had both given us jazzrock's raging heart, RTF and Colosseum I & II raised the ante and gave us heavy symphonic fusion, but Bill Bruford's band, made up of four of the finest musicians in the world - maybe *the* finest - was an animal less attached to the grimey floor of "Fusion", wanting instead to to live the life robotic, to revel in technical accomplishment not just on their instruments but also in the feel and delivery of the music. There is also a great deal of fun heard here and a sense these four absolutely loved playing together.

Mechanical as it may be, this is an inspired set. I mean, Dave Stewart, Jeff Berlin, Allan Holdsworth and Bill Bruford... c'mon, it doesn't get much better. The assemblyline sounds of Stewart's synth pushes off 'Hells Bells' establishing a crisp sound and some hip phrasing from his Rhodes piano and faux vibes for parts One & Two supports the title. Holdsworth, being the hard-rocker with a John Coltrane heart he is, gives his best. Jeff Berlin is his flawless and uncanny self and Bill holds it all together, in command but not overshadowing. 'Travels With Myself and Someone Else' is pleasant enough middle-of-the-road electric jazz and is followed by the clean machinations of 'Fainting in Coils', a stunner with a funeral-organ midsection and crack playing by everyone. Despite Berlin's wan gonking, 'Five G' is a successful rocker, 'The Abingdon Chasp' is reasonable, 'Forever Until Sunday' grows into sleek sci-fi rock with a spastic solo from Allan. And both parts of 'Sahara of Snow' are ingenious rhythmic play, an appropriate finish to a spectacular set.

It was projects like this (among other things) that caused Bruford's departure from two of Prog Rock's cornerstone bands, and it was well worth it. A triumph, and probably his finest hour as leader.

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