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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities - Bruford Levin Upper Extremities CD (album) cover


Bruford Levin Upper Extremities


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.95 | 73 ratings

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4 stars The greatest Crimson album without Robert Fripp!

I kid you not. If Fripp could claim that the King Crimson spirit was resurrected in the band he founded in 1981 (and which was originally called Discipline), surely these guys could say the same! For the life of me I do not see what this album has to do with jazz-rock/fusion, since it's closer than anything to Crimson music, and KC has officially been designated an "art rock" band.

Take "Fin de siècle". Surely the middle part of this wonderful piece sounds like a cheeky little parody of King Crimson's "Red"? Bruford almost admits as much in his liner notes, when he writes that 'the louche duet in the middle is all red velour and bead curtains'. And how about "Etude revisited"? Doesn't Tony Levin's stick-playing remind you of 1980s Crimson with their 'electronic gamelan'? Or take the opening track, "Cerulean Sea". Here, David Torn's obnoxious lead guitar heehaw is remarkably similar to Robert Fripp's playing on THRAK.

I don't mean to say that the album merely sounds derivative. Bruford and Levin, masters both, are in the spotlight throughout (on 'Drumbass' and 'Torn Drumbass' the two of them play a single instrument!) but trumpeter Chris Botti and guitarist David Torn provide original accents that are exhilerating and sometimes deeply moving. Botti's trumpet sounds wonderfully romantic on the gentle "A palace of pearls"; Torn provides manic lead guitar on "Cracking the Midnight Glass", an update of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" with exhilerating counter rhythms.

In summing up, this marvellous album will be of great interest to anyone who enjoys the musicians involved. It's almost as good as David Torn's own CLOUD ABOUT MERCURY, which was performed by the same combination of players (but with Mark Isham instead of Chris Botti on trumpet).

fuxi | 4/5 |


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