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Bill Bruford - Feels Good to Me CD (album) cover

FEELS GOOD TO ME

Bill Bruford

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.91 | 130 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Bill Bruford, the jack of all trades drummer, released his first solo album in 1977. The album featured top echelon musicians in all their respective fields and the result is an incredible explosion of jazz and rock into a combination never seen before. These core musicians, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Berlin, and Dave Stewart (and of course Bruford himself along with a few other musicians), created highly technical and complicated rhythmic patterns, and yet they also created fun, experimental, off the wall jazz music that any fan of groups like Brand X or Return to Forever will love. There is one fatal flaw to this album, though, and it really hurts the overall experience, but I shall get to that later.

The album opens with a concise and top notch drum beat in Beelzebub, some off the wall marimba percussion and some great start stop bass work from Berlin (as well as some sprawling Holdsworth guitar work). It's a short piece, but it sets the mood for the entire album. Back to the Beginning is where the main flaw of this album is first presented, and that is the vocals of Annette Peacock, who really throws the entire mood off and really is unfitting with her annoying voice. Musically, the song is perfect, but vocally, it's almost unbearable to listen to. Fortunately, though, there aren't that many vocal tracks on the album. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago is a two part piece that begins with some smooth atmospheres and some more vocals from Peacock, who doesn't really butcher the piece, but I'd still prefer an instrumental experience. The second part is a more laid back section, with some dynamic keyboards and some dreamy bell percussion. Add some more great sprawling and off the wall soloing from Holdsworth towards the end you have yourself an excellent piece. Sample and Hold goes through many different moods, from somber and very melodic, to spacey and very groovy, but it holds up very well.

Feels Good to Me begins rather simplistically, but soon enough little complexities and intricacies are introduced. Holdsworth is again at the top of his game with excellent and well timed guitar fills, and Dave Stewart has a nice piano performance towards the end. Either End of August has a nice horn arrangement and a nice hooking bass melodies and leads from Berlin as well as a floating synthesizer lines from Stewart. If You Can't Stand the Heat... is one of my favorite pieces on the album. It begins with a manic vibraphone melody that rises and falls at a rapid pace. Jeff Berlin adds his bit to the piece by playing some out of this world fills between Holdsworth swirling leads. Springtime in Siberia is a somber piano track with some melodic chord sequences from Dave Stewart and a somewhat triumphant horn line, it's not a bad track, but nothing I'd call brilliant. Adios a la Pasada ends the album with more grating vocals from Ann Peacock despite some incredible band performances from Bruford and Berlin, who really are nothing short of an amazing rhythm unit. I'd say of all the Peacock songs on the album, this is the best one, mainly because it doesn't feature much vocal and the musicians are able to spread their wings.

In the end, Feels Good to Me should feel good to most jazz rock enthusiasts and those who are fans of the undeniable drum prowess of Mr. Bruford. If you can get past the more than obnoxious vocals and really pay attention to the music, you'll find some of the most engaging and fun fusion around. Recommended, but for some reason this album doesn't really deserve four stars. Sure the music is nothing short of breathtaking, but some of the pieces are a bit samey and (as I've said many times before, but I can't help it) the vocals just ruin some tracks. 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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