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Bill Bruford - If Summer Had Its Ghosts (with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez) CD (album) cover

IF SUMMER HAD ITS GHOSTS (WITH RALPH TOWNER AND EDDIE GOMEZ)

Bill Bruford

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.50 | 22 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars LOVELY MUSIC - UNFLASHY, AND ALL THE BETTER FOR IT!

Ralph Towner is one of the stars of the ECM label (all his solo albums are marvels), and undoubtedly the greatest jazz guitarist who refuses to use electric instruments. He has collaborated several times with double-bass virtuoso Eddie Gomez, but it came as a total surprise when, in 1997, he agreed to work with Bill Bruford, on a disc which features mainly Bruford compositions.

Apart from classical guitar and twelve-string, Towner also plays piano and electronic keyboards. Thanks to overdubbing, you sometimes get the impression this is not a trio performing, but a quartet.

The first two pieces on IF SUMMER HAD ITS GHOSTS sound fine, but slightly severe, perhaps a shade too "neo-classical". The listener may wonder when the music will really take off. The third piece, "Forgiveness", however, is a ballad with some charming classical guitar in it, and on the fourth, "Somersaults", Towner's jazzy playing finally breaks loose. After that, things just keep getting better. "Thistledown" is a delightful tune, one of the most melodious Bruford has written, with catchy lead piano by Towner. "Amethyst" is yet another passionate ballad, with great guitar backed by gentle keyboard washes. On "Splendour among shadows" Bruford produces a chime-like pattern on electronic percussion, which gives guitar, drums and bass ample opportunity to execute solos on top. Up until this point, Bruford's playing has remained strikingly modest and unobtrusive, but the next piece ("Some other time") is a first-rate three-minute (acoustic) drum solo, and on "Silent pool" Bill uses electronics to play a gamelan-like pattern, which Eddie Gomez then uses for some expert soloing. "Now is the next time" is based on a slightly awkward fanfare-like riff, played on electronic keyboard, but it encourages truly exciting soloing, by all three members of this once-only band.

Bruford, Towner and Gomez fans will need no encouraging: all of them will find this album essential. For progressive rock fans who are curious about Bill Bruford's jazzy side (NOT his 'fusion' side, which has recently been dormant), this album would be an excellent start. Three and a half stars.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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