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Bill Bruford - Bruford & Borstlap: Every Step A Dance, Every Word A Song CD (album) cover


Bill Bruford


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.90 | 11 ratings

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I postponed listening to this album for six years - something I never did with any other Bill Bruford projects, which I invariably played as soon as they came out. I was worried this would be just another academic exercise, in the same vein as Bruford's duets with Patrick Moraz, which never appealed to me. I couldn't have been more wrong!

All music on this album is entirely improvised, but some tracks are so melodious you get the feeling the main melody was pre-written. There are only two musicians involved, but Michiel Borstlap makes excellent use of electronic keyboards to provide running bass and orchestral textures, which sometimes recall Weather Report, sometimes Dave Stewart (circa ONE OF A KIND) or Django Bates (who featured in the first incarnation of Earthworks). Most of Borstlap's soloing is on grand piano though - and what a star he is! Quite possibly the most imaginative piano virtuoso Bill ever worked with! (Lovers of UK jazz may disagree and point out no-one could top Gwilym Simcock... They may be right, but unfortunately, when Simcock joined Earthworks the band was past its peak.)

So this entire album is sheer joy from start to finish, just because it allows you to hear two masters of their craft inventing beauty (and generating excitement) together, without the help of a safety net.

If I have one criticism EVERY STEP, it's that the album is not much of a live experience. The music was performed live all right, but there's not much of a flow since the tracks were gathered from various concerts. Thus, the opening track ends on wild and enthusiastic applause from a rock 'n' roll crowd, but the next track is treated to the polite clapping you hear in the classical concert hall. This album will never give you a high in the same way as a Rolling Stones CD. But the beauty on display is considerable. My admiration for Mr Bruford has received another boost. It's no exaggeration to say that he and Michiel Borstlap are the very INCARNATION of the progressive spirit: their music incorporates elements from rock, jazz and the European classical tradition, and it is always incredibly audacious. I am NOT going to wait seven years before I try the second Bruford-Borstlap album!

fuxi | 4/5 |


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