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Bill Bruford - One of a Kind CD (album) cover

ONE OF A KIND

Bill Bruford

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.06 | 211 ratings

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Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I can't tell you how relieved I am to know that there are others out there in Progville 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 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 progressive 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.

Chicapah | 4/5 |

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