Friday, May 17, 2019

Earthworks In Progress: Bill Bruford 70

We're busting out a back-to-back stack this weekend, concerning two former collaborators born a single day apart.
We'll kick it off with a true brahmin of the batterie, who once said that his greatest feat as a musician was having had the good sense to be born in 1949, and turning 19 in 1968.
Back then, he once took a long car ride in which his friends had to convince him not to go to college and leave music aside. We're all very grateful he listened to what they had to say.
Once he made the decision, the band they had together took off, and just a couple of years later they completely exploded upon the world.
Then, just as this group -- somewhat overoptimistically called "Yes" -- were poised at the pinnacle of total, absolutely world-conquering global success, he went over the wall into East Germany. Which, in the music world, was at that time called "King Crimson".
Then.... then! Just as they were on the brink of a massive commercial breakthrough, their leader decided the world was ending soon and joined a monastery of sorts, killing the band. 
Well, not killing. Maybe cryogenically freezing for a few years. Which left our percussive pal to pinball from huge, seminal band to huge, seminal band for a while.
Bouncing from Gong to National Health to Brand X to Genesis to UK, he finally got out front of his own, eponymously named outfit in the late 1970s.
This lasted a couple of years, until Mr. Monastery called again and said he was melting the cryogenics and restarting the Crimson King, and would you like to hit stuff loudly and often once again?
They spent another three years re-taking over the world, until it was time for Mr. Monastery to climb into his meditation pod once again.
At this point, our hero said Enough of This Pathetic Rock Drama and moved directly into Jazz, the idiom he probably always wanted to play within the most anyhow.
It's here we join the story of the mighty Boom Bishford, just four months before the recording of this new group's very first long player.
Honestly this set is greatest because it's Earthworks Electronic, with dude concentrating on the Simmons kit to such an extent, it sounds like the killer David Torn Cloud About Mercury group he was also in around this time playing the early Earthworks repertoire.
Why, here they are in their first ever tour playing in front of humans, and they're not even technically called Earthworks yet! Ladies and germs, The Bill Bruford Quartet. 
(billed as "The Bill Bruford Quartet")
Bravas Club 
Tokyo, Japan 

01 My Heart Declares a Holiday 
02 Making a Song and Dance 
03 Up North 
04 Gothic 18 
05 Fall In 

01 Ikebana 
02 Holy Fox 
03 A Stone's Throw 
04 It Needn't End In Tears 
05 Bridge of Inhibition 
06 Thud 

Total time: 1:28:28

Django Bates - tenor horn, trumpet & keyboards
Iain Ballamy - alto, soprano + tenor saxophones & keyboards
Mick Hutton - bass
Bill Bruford - electronic + acoustic drums & percussion

sounds like a master off-air FM capture of indeterminate origin
We'll be right on back in 24 hours and be warned that we will probably be wearing a cape, in honor of tomorrow's superhero... who first was loosed upon an unsuspecting public alongside Bill Bruford in Yes, unless you count all the hits he played on anonymously before becoming an Affirmative.
Today, however, we are Never the Same Way Once, in tribute to one of Earth's foremost and snare-identifiable drummers, born this very day -- smart dude, eh? -- in 1949.--J.

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