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11 May 2017

Bill Bruford “The Bruford tapes"1979 UK Prog Instumental Jazz Rock Fusion











Bill Bruford “The Bruford tapes"1979 UK Prog Instumental Jazz Rock Fusion
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This album was recorded live in 1979, it contains material from Bruford his solo records "Feels good to me" (1977) and "One of a kind" (1978). The line-up is great (a kind of supergroup) featuring Bill Bruford, Canterbury legend Dave Stewart (keyboards) and Jeff Berlin on bass along the 'unknown' John Clark on electric guitar. The interplay between the musicians is outstanding and powerful, this is jazzrock at its best! Bill Bruford showcases his distinctive drumming, so creative and dynamic. Dave Stewart delivers a varied sound using electric piano, organ and synthesizers in a very tasteful way. Jeff Berlin is a virtuosic, playing very propulsive: his solo on "Travels with myself - and someone else" and the intro from "5g are stunning! And what about that 'unknown' John Clark? Well, to me he plays at the level of the other musicians and gets a lot of room to show his talent. His sound and style reminds me of Allan Holdsworth (fiery, fast and flowing runs like a violin). If you want more details about the tracks, I refer to Gatot's review, as usual very accurate and enthousiastic. And I agree with the remarks from other reviewers about the recording quality but to me it's not a problem becasue in the past I used to listen to a lot of mediocre bootleg progrock albums. 
IF YOU ARE UP TO SPLENDID AND ENERGETIC JAZZROCK, THIS ONE IS YOURS!............by erik neuteboom ...........

I agree with some of the previous reviewers of this album: the recording is not very good (being recorded for a Radio Broadcast) and some of the songs are faded out and not included in their real duration, but this album shows how good was this band playing in concert, and it was the first time that I heard Bill Bruford talking to an audience as leader of a band. 
All the members of the band are very good, of course, but Bruford, and more particularly bassist Jeff Berlin do amazing things with their instruments in this album. Dave Stewart also shows creativity playing those "old" synths from the late seventies. Guitarist John Clarke`s playing is so good that the listener doesn`t miss Allan Holdsworth`s playing very much. 

The cover design of this album looks more like a cover design for a "bootleg" than for an official live album, IMO. 

Despite being a very good band, this band was going to split after recording another studio album, called "Gradually Going Tornado". In his official website, Bill Bruford described this in the "Timeline" section, saying that his then management company (E.G.) was giving more support in 1980-81 for a reunion of Bill Bruford with KING CRIMSON, a thing that finally happened..... by Guillermo ................

Though the studio albums do sound better, 'The Bruford Tapes' is a magnificent performance by a great outfit. At their peak, Bruford's boys put on a great presentation of many favorites and simply cook all night at the kind of event one wishes they had witnessed. Another thing I really enjoyed is Bruford's method of arranging and playing his music, i.e. we get to hear him "test" songs which is a fascinating peek into his system of composition. In addition, this has to be one of the finest ensembles in prog history and the 'Unknown' John Clark (who was recommended to Bruford by Holdsworth himself when Allan couldn't do this tour) pulls off the best AH impression on record. If you can tolerate the radio broadcast sound of this CD (EG 1979) you shant be disappointed. I give it four stars here but it probably deserves five....... by Atavachron............

A live N.Y.C. radio broadcast by Bill Bruford and his band in July 1979, The Bruford Tapes features material from his Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind albums. Although the mix is shaky, the playing is not. Bruford rules the roost with his inimitable "pong" rim-shot sound and droll stage patter, and Dave Stewart's keyboards especially benefit from a heavier, slightly overdriven stage sound. Stewart gets "Hell's Bells" off to a rousing start, and his piano and Hammond sounds nicely embellish "Fainting in Coils"; not to be outdone, Jeff Berlin blazes across "Five G" with some wonderfully frenetic bass playing. This is one of the best Bruford albums of this period; those who found the studio releases of these songs to be too cold will be won over by the improvisational intensity of this live show....... by Paul Collins................

Recorded in July, 1979 at a Roslyn, New York club for radio broadcast, The Bruford Tapes shows just how inventive the group could be. Featuring material culled from Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind, they may have wanted for Holdsworth's unique style, but they more than made up for that in sheer energy and a surprising looseness. Despite complex arrangements, this was clearly a playing band, and it's possible that the absence of Holdsworth—whose perfectionist tendencies can sometimes get in the way of his letting loose and surrendering to the music—may have actually worked to the group's advantage. 

At this point in his career, Bruford's role is more supportive—albeit in a way that certainly never renders him invisible. But more than his playing, his early albums were notable for his emergence as a writer. And, as he would do in future Earthworks incarnations, he took advantage of the compositional skills of his bandmates—in this case Stewart, whose long-form writing had already defined the sound of Canterbury groups including Egg and Hatfield and the North. Still, with Bruford's signature tight snare drum and dazzling polyrhythmic abilities, he may have been more of a fixed timekeeper for this band than future projects, but what a timekeeper. No other drummer could have approached these pieces with the same élan vital. Listen to earlier Hatfield and the North compositions by Stewart, with Pip Pyle behind the kit—the compositional lineage is clear, but the complexion is entirely different. 

Clark may be more generic, but he's also more raucous. His contributions to the lithe Bruford/Stewart composition, "Sample and Hold" and Bruford's more ominous "Fainting in Coils," which segues into the obliquely-funky "Back to the Beginning" are filled with a rock and roll fury that more than makes up for his less innovative harmonic sense. 

Berlin seemed to emerge out of nowhere when he first appeared on Feels Good to Me, although he actually began his career in his native United States backing singers including Esther Phillips and Patti Austin. Berlin was recommended to Bruford by Patrick Moraz, the ex-Yes keyboardist and drummer meeting during the sessions for (still) Yes bassist Chris Squire's leader debut, Fish Out of Water (Atlantic, 1975); but for those not in the know, it was with Bruford that the bassist emerged as a serious contender. Sometimes it's more a matter of timing and luck, but one wonders if Berlin—a dexterous player with far more than a passing acquaintance to jazz harmony—might have garnered the same attention as fellow fusioners Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke, had the planets been more serendipitously aligned. Certainly his solo on Bruford's "Travels With Myself—and Someone Else" is as fleet-fingered and imaginative as anything his counterparts on the west side of the Atlantic were doing. And his ability to juggle a more conventional bass role with one that found him an equal melodic partner with Stewart and Clark is almost unparalleled. 

The real treat, though, is Stewart. While his playing with Egg, Hatfield and the North and National Health was never less than uniquely compelling, he had his own perfectionist tendencies to contend with. Here he's more unencumbered, and proves himself to be a remarkably inspired improviser. His piano solo over the staggeringly-complicated riff that forms one part of "Sample and Hold" demonstrates, like Berlin, a skill at navigating a constantly-shifting harmonic backdrop that is typically only seen with the best jazz players. And yet, for all Stewart's depth, he completely avoids the kinds of harmonies more typically associated with jazz—one reason why he's been sadly overlooked by the jazz intelligentsia. 

Progressive Rock? Jazz Fusion? Jazz-Rock? Bruford's 1970s band was all of these things...and none of them. And The Bruford Tapes, with its combination of high volume intensity, detailed long-form writing and reckless improvisational abandon, does nothing to assuage those looking for easy categorization. It is, however, as fine an example as you're apt to find of the kind of unrestricted exploration and cross-pollination once seen on major labels, but now more often relegated to the small independents. 

For those who are not familiar with the follow-up album, Gradually Going Tornado, the bonus track—a live version of "The Age of Information" from that release—will come as a big surprise, with Berlin stepping up to the microphone. A sign of the band moving in another direction—perhaps a bid for radio play—that some balked at, but one that represented no kind of compromise. ...By JOHN KELMAN ....................

Line-up / Musicians 
- Bill Bruford / acoustic & electronic drums and percussion 
- Jeff Berlin / bass and vocals 
- John Clark / guitar 
- Dave Stewart / keyboards and synths

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. Hell's Bells (4:35) 
2. Sample and Hold (6:35) 
3. Fainting in Coils (7:25) 
4. Travels With Myself - And Someone Else (4:38) 
5. Beelzebub (Bruford) - 3:52) 
6. The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 1 (5:05) 
7. The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 2 (3:32) 
8. One of a Kind, Pt. 2 (8:45) 
9. 5G (2:38)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..