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Moraz & Bruford - Flags CD (album) cover

FLAGS

Moraz & Bruford

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.79 | 33 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Star Spangled, but a Union of varying Standard

Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz had both tried with limited success, to pull Yes in a jazz direction. Had they found themselves in the band at the same time, the course of prog history may well have been different, but Bruford had long since moved on by the time Moraz arrived.

They worked together from time to time though, this being the second album to be co-credited to them as a duo. Such collaborations can be seen as a release for their strong jazz leanings which they were required to suppress to a greater or lesser extent while performing their day jobs. Moraz in particular was afforded little room for improvisation while playing keyboards with the Moody Blues, and to be fair that band's audience would probably not have welcomed such indulgences.

On their first album together, Moraz played only piano (hence the title). While "Flags" is also primarily a piano and drums affair, Moraz does allow himself the luxury of using his Kurtzweil synthesiser from time to time.

The opening "Temples of joy" is actually a rather vibrant synth workout which would have fitted in well on Moraz's early solo albums. Inevitably, Bruford's drums are well up in the mix, but the lush, quasi orchestral playing of Moraz is more than a match for them. All too soon though we are into the piano and drum duets which dominate the album. "Split seconds" is a messy ramble which sees Moraz tinkering on the piano while Bruford goes his own way on drums. Bruford takes a comfort break for Karu, which becomes a solo Moraz performance. The piece is very reminiscent of some of Rick Wakeman's more ambient pieces, the slightly echoed barroom piano sound being backed by some pleasant synth washes.

From there on, the tracks tend to merge into each other as Moraz knocks out a few tunes on the piano and occasionally the synth, while Bruford thumps away at the drums. "Machines Programmed by Genes" is one of the more interesting tracks, with good effects and a punchy main theme. It does seem at times though a little too much like the title music for TV show. Moraz gets his chance to go walkabout when Bruford presents "The Drum Also Waltzes", ironically the only cover version on the album. I suppose a drum solo was probably inevitable, the saving grace being that it is kept short-ish.

"Everything You've Heard is True" which closes the album is another decent synth drench piece, but inexplicably fades instead of bringing the album to a satisfactory conclusion.

In all, this is really an album for fans of Bruford and/or Moraz. While there are some interesting pieces, the album largely suffers from a sense of indulgence and navel gazing.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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