BILL BRUFORD

Jazz Related Rock / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Eclectic Fusion • United Kingdom
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Bill Bruford grew up with jazz. As an amateur drummer in the 1960s, and after a handful of lessons from Lou Pocock of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, he began his professional career in 1968. He was a guiding light in the so-called British "Art Rock" movement, touring internationally with Yes and King Crimson from 1968-74. There then followed several years spent observing and participating in the music making processes of, among others, Gong, National Health, Genesis and U.K., until Bill felt ready to write and perform his own music with his own band Bruford, recording four albums from 1977-80. It was, however, the reconstituted King Crimson of 1980-84 that provided the vehicle for his revolutionary use of electronics in developing the melodic side of percussion. Following an interim two year/two album stint improvising on acoustic piano and drums with Patrick Moraz, Bruford formed his electro-acoustic jazz group Earthworks in 1986, with read more...
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BILL BRUFORD Discography

BILL BRUFORD albums / top albums

BILL BRUFORD Feels Good To Me album cover 3.81 | 18 ratings
Feels Good To Me
Jazz Related Rock 1977
BILL BRUFORD One Of A Kind album cover 4.33 | 27 ratings
One Of A Kind
Jazz Related Rock 1979
BILL BRUFORD Gradually Going Tornado album cover 3.23 | 11 ratings
Gradually Going Tornado
Jazz Related Rock 1980
BILL BRUFORD If Summer Had Its Ghosts (with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez) album cover 3.45 | 10 ratings
If Summer Had Its Ghosts (with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez)
Post-Fusion Contemporary 1997
BILL BRUFORD In Two Minds (with Michiel Borstlap) album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
In Two Minds (with Michiel Borstlap)
Eclectic Fusion 2008

BILL BRUFORD EPs & splits

BILL BRUFORD live albums

BILL BRUFORD The Bruford Tapes album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
The Bruford Tapes
Jazz Related Rock 1979
BILL BRUFORD Bruford Levin Upper Extremities album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Jazz Related Rock 1998
BILL BRUFORD Bruford Levin Upper Extremities : BLUE Nights album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities : BLUE Nights
Jazz Related Rock 2000
BILL BRUFORD Every Step a Dance Every Word a Song album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Every Step a Dance Every Word a Song
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2004
BILL BRUFORD Rock Goes To College album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Rock Goes To College
Jazz Related Rock 2007

BILL BRUFORD demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BILL BRUFORD re-issues & compilations

BILL BRUFORD Master Strokes: 1978-1985 album cover 3.29 | 5 ratings
Master Strokes: 1978-1985
Jazz Related Rock 1986
BILL BRUFORD An Introduction to Bill Bruford's Winterfold album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Introduction to Bill Bruford's Winterfold
Jazz Related Rock 2005
BILL BRUFORD The Winterfold Collection 1978-1986 album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
The Winterfold Collection 1978-1986
Jazz Related Rock 2008
BILL BRUFORD Summerfold Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Summerfold Collection
Jazz Related Rock 2009
BILL BRUFORD Seems Like A Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Seems Like A Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980
Jazz Related Rock 2017
BILL BRUFORD Bruford-Borstlap : Sheer Reckless Abandon album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bruford-Borstlap : Sheer Reckless Abandon
Eclectic Fusion 2019
BILL BRUFORD Double Time album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Double Time
Jazz Related Rock 2020

BILL BRUFORD singles (0)

BILL BRUFORD movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bruford / Borstlap – In Concert In Holland
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2004
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979
Jazz Related Rock 2006

BILL BRUFORD Reviews

BILL BRUFORD Feels Good To Me

Album · 1977 · Jazz Related Rock
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Warthur
Bill Bruford's first solo album - which inadvertently became the first album by the "Bruford" band - exists right at the borderline between the jazzier end of the Canterbury scene (as represented by National Health and Hatfield and the North) and the percussion-heavy side of fusion, as represented by Billy Cobham's first album and by the Mothers of Inventions' various percussionists over the years.

Canterbury fans will, of course, remember that Bill himself was a member of National Health for a time, and by way of returning the favour Dave Stewart sits in on keyboard (and Neil Murray pops in from time to time to bring some back-up bass). Allan Holdsworth, of course, has a track record of playing in Canterbury bands that have crossed the line into full-on fusion (Soft Machine and Gong), whilst the unusual vocals of Annette Peacock adds a mildly avant-garde twist to proceedings.

On balance, the album represents an intriguing new musical direction, combining the jazziest parts of the Canterbury scene with the best of other traditions of jazz fusion. Along with National Health's debut, it's probably the most important Canterbury recording of 1977, but it's also got a lot to offer fans of other jazz fusion traditions.

BILL BRUFORD One Of A Kind

Album · 1979 · Jazz Related Rock
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Slartibartfast
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 Gradually Going Tornado

Album · 1980 · Jazz Related Rock
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Nightfly
Bruford's Gradually Going Tornado album had the unenviable task of following on the heels of Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind, two late seventies Jazz Rock albums, One of a Kind in particular of mythic status amongst lovers of Fusion and Progressive Rock. As a result of this it is often overshadowed by its predecessors which is a shame because this is an excellent album, if not quite the equal of One of a Kind. The line up from the previous album remains with the exception of Alan Holdsworth who had been replaced by John Clark, a pretty serious loss you may think but Clark is an excellent player and an inspired replacement with a style similar to Holdsworth, fitting in well with the high calibre virtuoso playing of the rest of the band. Bill Bruford of course needs little introduction to Prog fans, one of the best Drummers in the genre. As expected his playing here is excellent, often keeping the music moving with what on the surface appears a simple groove, yet hiding a more complex undercurrent. Geoff Berlin, one of my favourite Bass players at the time doesn't disappoint with his upfront fluid Bass lines and neither does Keyboard player Dave Stewart. Berlin also takes lead vocals on much of the album and whilst an adequate singer is not spectacular. So onto the music, the album kicks off with Age of Information, a mid paced Keyboard dominated track which is not the most spectacular start and would have been better tucked away mid album somewhere. Much better is the far more dynamic Gothic 17 which alternates from driving rhythms to atmospheric Jazzy quieter sections. Both tracks feature Berlin on vocals. The brilliant Joe Frazier follows and is one of the best tracks on the album. An instrumental where much of the time Berlin's Bass and Stewart's Piano play in unison note for note with a complex patern. Clark also contributes greatly with some soaring Guitar and Bruford really drives the track along. Excellent stuff and one of the best Bruford tracks ever. Q.E.D., another instrumental brings things down a notch, at least to begin with before building up to some exceptional playing from all concerned, with in particular some great Berlin moments.

Another favourite of mine, The Sliding Floor opens up side 2 of the original vinyl version of the album. It's Berlin's Bass work that really hits the spot with his busy driving runs sometimes mirrored with Clark's cutting Guitar. It also features Berlin's best vocal performance. Next comes Palewell Park, a more mellow moment with some lovely Piano and beautifully fluid Bass, in fact the only instruments to feature on the track. The tempo picks up again for Plans For J.D., another song which has a nice groove to it and last but not least Land's End closes the album. At just over ten minutes it's the longest track on the album and much use of light and shade is made, driving one minute, more introspective the next and a fitting end to an excellent album.

So if you've never bought a Bruford album, go and get One of a Kind first but don't forget about this one and add it to your list for future purchases.

BILL BRUFORD One Of A Kind

Album · 1979 · Jazz Related Rock
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Abraxas
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.

BILL BRUFORD Gradually Going Tornado

Album · 1980 · Jazz Related Rock
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Chicapah
This album presents one of the classic good news/bad news scenarios. After their brilliant "One of a Kind" LP turned more than a few jazz/rock fusion heads, three of the four members stuck around for the follow-up. That's the good news. The bad news is that the inventive, unpredictable (yet always entertaining) Alan Holdsworth was the one who departed and he left behind some mighty big boots to fill. Things start well enough with the exciting, new wave-flavored "Age of Information" that is peppy and bright, containing a very catchy musical refrain with clever accents. However, this is also where you are introduced to bassist Jeff Berlin's singing voice. It's not that he can't hit the notes because he does that very well but his vocal has no character, no personality and it hangs around like a pesky gnat for the duration of the album. It's not his fault that he doesn't sound like Greg Lake but they could have done better with another singer. "Gothic 17" features a strange, jazzy vocal line (again, sung accurately but not memorably) and starts with a lot of energy before dropping down to a quieter level that utilizes a cello. This song is where "the unknown" John Clark (as he is identified in the credits) shows that, while he employs a lot of the same tones and effects that Holdsworth uses, he's not quite in the same zip code as his predecessor. In other words, the tune could have benefited from some of Alan's surprises. Jeff Berlin's incurably funky instrumental "Joe Frazier" is the highlight of the proceedings. It has an infectious high-speed melody played simultaneously by the bass and piano as its centerpiece but it's really a showcase for Berlin's fabulous dexterity and he rises to the occasion with an incredible performance. You'll probably want to play this one over and over a few times before moving on. "Q.E.D." is a very interesting song. After a mysterious beginning it takes you through many phases where there's not much in the way of melody but the towering quality of the musicianship is overwhelming and it never gets boring. "The Sliding Floor" brings back Jeff's limited vocals but the band creates some very powerful music behind him. The break down in the middle is a treat. Bill Bruford wrote the peaceful "Palewell Park" but he doesn't play a note as Dave Stewart's delicate piano and Berlin's bass are all that's needed to convey the song's soft meaning. It's also a refreshing change of pace. Bill's lively, slick "Plans for J.D." follows. Jeff warbles the odd melody as well as one can expect him to but this tune never really finds its identity and is forgotten as soon as it's over. Stewart's "Land's End" finishes the album with a flourish as the band creates a kaleidoscope of musical colors and hues. It starts with some intricate but freely drifting melodies before transitioning to an uptempo segment where Clark shows he's got game. A beautiful, slower piano part intervenes briefly, then Berlin gets another chance to shine on his bass. Drummer boy Bruford has been content to stay in the background up till now but here the spotlight finally turns his way and he flashes a couple of dynamic fills here and there to demonstrate that he's still got "it." The tune has a nice build up and takes you full circle to the original theme. A bit avant-garde but never dull.

After being wowed by "One of a Kind" I really expected more from this one but maybe that was unfair considering the circumstances. John Clark turns in a courageous (but ultimately predictable) guitar contribution and Jeff Berlin sings the best he can with what he was born with but the album is a step back. It never really caught on and the group eventually called it quits before recording anything else. All in all it's an above average album that doesn't reside on the same lofty level as the one that preceded it.

BILL BRUFORD Movies Reviews

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Dick Heath
I remember seeing this originally on BBC 2 a few weeks after it was recorded in one of the canteens of Oxford Poly, and getting a mix of intense pleasure. In particular pleasure from the tour de force that Holdsworth had developed into (and screamed out at me on Feels Good To Me)and the unknown bass-wiz Jeff Berlin. But there was disappointment over Annette's contribution to the set - when her husky voice breathed sex at me on the album.

Now here from the Beeb's archives is the original 70's video quality footage as originally shown on 625 lines. The pleasure points remain, with some details emphasised. However the disappointment is worse, in particular there is a promise of something special as Peacock flounces on part way through the set, dressed as the fashion queen,(thereby drawing the contrast with the blokes in the band). However,again the expectation of something special evaporates quickly - the diva can't 'deave' live in sympathy with the music, the band i.e. her vocals are poor. Fortunately we don't have to suffer this for long and thank goodness for the skip button.

Yes this is a short recording*, and isn't there a missed opportunity here? One DVD burn (of a copy of a copy, etc.) of this gig I saw some years ago and suffering horribly from colour dropout, had the addition of two extra numbers by Bruford recorded off from the Old Grey Whistle Test - here with I think Neil Murray deputing for Jeff Berlin. Surely the Beeb could had offered these as well?

*Interesting to see another Rock Goes To College recording of Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters recorded at the now defuncted Chelsea College, that had resurfaced on BBC 4 2 years ago, was an hour long.

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Slartibartfast
This is incredible. I had the good fortune of seeing Bruford, unfortunately post Holdsworth, at the now defunct Atlanta Agora. I did get to catch Holdsworth touring for his I.O.U. album, but that's another story. My first pass through this concert really gave me the goosebumps.

It is unfortunate that this DVD is only 41 minutes, but the set list is excellent. Four tracks from Bruford's best album, One of a Kind. Annette Peacock even shows up for a couple of songs. I always thought that she didn't fit in well with this kind of music, but it's nice to see her all the same. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any live video out there of Alan Holdsworth, so seeing him in action is a special treat. One of the things I remember most from seeing Bruford was that at times Jeff Berlin's picking fingers were a blur and seeing him again live, I know I wasn't imagining it. Dave Stewart, or as I like to call him, The Dave Stewart, not that Eurythmics guy, is also a lot of fun to see in action. I noticed he had a music stand with no sheet music, but a synthesizer diagram, interesting. And then of course there's Bill. Those of you who may dislike his electronic drum work, I'm not one, will be happy to him playing strictly acoustic. What can I say? He's really one of best drummers around. The audio quality is excellent and sometimes the camera man crop off Holdsworth's left hand when I'd like to see it, but other than that, this is really nice for a concert captured in 1979.

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