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Bill Bruford - Master Strokes: 1978-1985 CD (album) cover

MASTER STROKES: 1978-1985

Bill Bruford

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.51 | 26 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars MASTER STROKES remains excellent value for those in search of an overview of Bill Bruford's early solo career. It offers you a particularly good selection from the album ONE OF A KIND, which is often considered as Bill's fusion masterpiece. More than half that album is represented, and whoever selected the tracks did an excellent job: you're getting ALL the strongest bits.

Approximately half of FEELS GOOD TO ME, Bill's first solo album, is excerpted as well, but in this case I'm not altogether happy with the selection. Although the tracks included are strong, the selection overlooks Bill's collaborations with top fluegelhorn player Kenny Wheeler and with the eccentric jazz vocalist Annette Peacock. I know most proggers won't regret Ms. Peacock's absence, since her way of singing is an acquired taste, and they'll all just want to hear Allan Holdsworth, Dave Stewart and Jeff Berlin... But I personally enjoy Annette and I believe 'Back to the Beginning' (which features her singing) was FEELS GOOD TO ME's strongest track; it certainly incorporates one of Allan Holdsworth's very best solos as well.

So, if you're not too hard-up, I'd recommend you give MASTER STROKES a miss and buy both FEELS GOOD TO ME and ONE OF A KIND instead. Since they are two of the very best prog-fusion albums around, you cannot go wrong.

Perhaps you'll even end up buying GRADUALLY GOING TORNADO! I must admit that at the time of writing (August 2007) I haven't heard that particular album, but the three tracks included from it on MASTER STROKES sound promising - especially 'Joe Frazier', which features one of the most acrobatic bass guitar performances I've ever heard.

As for the three shortish (and acoustic) collaborations by Bruford and Patrick Moraz which are included here: I'm afraid most listeners will find them boring. I personally only enjoy "The drum also waltzes", which does exactly what the title promises (and admirably so!) but which is really a B.B. solo performance. Still, these brief collaborations in no way detract from MASTER STROKES' documentary value.

fuxi | 4/5 |

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