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Bill Bruford - Bruford: Gradually Going Tornado CD (album) cover


Bill Bruford


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.44 | 99 ratings

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4 stars Bruford's Gradually Going Tornado album had the unenviable task of following on the heels of Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind, two late seventies Jazz Rock albums, One of a Kind in particular of mythic status amongst lovers of Fusion and Progressive Rock. As a result of this it is often overshadowed by its predecessors which is a shame because this is an excellent album, if not quite the equal of One of a Kind.

The line up from the previous album remains with the exception of Alan Holdsworth who had been replaced by John Clark, a pretty serious loss you may think but Clark is an excellent player and an inspired replacement with a style similar to Holdsworth, fitting in well with the high calibre virtuoso playing of the rest of the band. Bill Bruford of course needs little introduction to Prog fans, one of the best Drummers in the genre. As expected his playing here is excellent, often keeping the music moving with what on the surface appears a simple groove, yet hiding a more complex undercurrent. Geoff Berlin, one of my favourite Bass players at the time doesn't disappoint with his upfront fluid Bass lines and neither does Keyboard player Dave Stewart. Berlin also takes lead vocals on much of the album and whilst an adequate singer is not spectacular. So onto the music, the album kicks off with Age of Information, a mid paced Keyboard dominated track which is not the most spectacular start and would have been better tucked away mid album somewhere. Much better is the far more dynamic Gothic 17 which alternates from driving rhythms to atmospheric Jazzy quieter sections. Both tracks feature Berlin on vocals. The brilliant Joe Frazier follows and is one of the best tracks on the album. An instrumental where much of the time Berlin's Bass and Stewart's Piano play in unison note for note with a complex patern. Clark also contributes greatly with some soaring Guitar and Bruford really drives the track along. Excellent stuff and one of the best Bruford tracks ever. Q.E.D., another instrumental brings things down a notch, at least to begin with before building up to some exceptional playing from all concerned, with in particular some great Berlin moments.

Another favourite of mine, The Sliding Floor opens up side 2 of the original vinyl version of the album. It's Berlin's Bass work that really hits the spot with his busy driving runs sometimes mirrored with Clark's cutting Guitar. It also features Berlin's best vocal performance. Next comes Palewell Park, a more mellow moment with some lovely Piano and beautifully fluid Bass, in fact the only instruments to feature on the track. The tempo picks up again for Plans For J.D., another song which has a nice groove to it and last but not least Land's End closes the album. At just over ten minutes it's the longest track on the album and much use of light and shade is made, driving one minute, more introspective the next and a fitting end to an excellent album.

So if you've never bought a Bruford album, go and get One of a Kind first but don't forget about this one and add it to your list for future purchases.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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