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Bill Bruford's Earthworks - Stamping Ground - Live CD (album) cover


Bill Bruford's Earthworks


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.87 | 23 ratings

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4 stars It's fairly well established that in the drumming heirarchy there is Bill Bruford and Neil Peart at the top, with everyone else below. Both of these drummers are experts at electronic drumming, and both have shown an ear for jazz (both also appeared on Peart's Buddy Rich tributes). While I happen to love listening to both of these drummers, in my opinion, Bill Bruford wins for all the different bands he's played with, and all of the styles he has mastered.

With Earthworks, Bruford plays a more traditional jazz, with his fusion roots taking a back seat. But however much he wants this to be known as traditional, his fusion chops, the way he adds so many polyrhythms into even the most mundane groove, and his adepts work on the electronic drums, keep the music firmly footed in the fusion realm.

This is a great set from start to finish. His band was perfectly in synch with what Bruford was trying to accomplish, playing sophisticated jazz around some pretty incredible drumming and synth triggers. Iain Ballamy and Django Bates, both with Earthworks since the band's inception, provide perfect horns and keyboard accompaniment to all of the tunes. Bass player Tim Harries, while certainly competent on acoustic, is superb on the songs where he gets to play electric.

My favorite tracks are the more abstract ones, where Bruford writes melodies that evoke Five Percent For Nothing from "Fragile", although much more developed. Nerve, and especially Emotional Shirt fall into this category. But the best track is Bridge Of Inhibition, which features Bruford playing the melody on synth patches while also mastering the beat. The song segues into some wild soloing before ending back with Bruford triggering the synths again.

This may be the Earthworks album to get.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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