BILL BRUFORD — One Of A Kind (review)

BILL BRUFORD — One Of A Kind album cover Album · 1979 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Atavachron
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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js wrote:
more than 2 years ago
"Who says music has to be full of heart and soul? Almost everyone, I suppose .." - ha ha ha, great writing.

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