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Moraz & Bruford - Music For Piano And Drums CD (album) cover

MUSIC FOR PIANO AND DRUMS

Moraz & Bruford

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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3 stars I'm reviewing the 2004 re-master, with bonus live tracks.

The simplicity of piano and drums with no other instruments and (as far as I can tell) no overdubs is a great combination, provided the instrumentalists are up to the task, and there's no doubt both Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford are. But, it's difficult to classify this as progressive music - it really is a jazz album. It won't take you more than a couple of tracks to decide whether or not this is for you. The compositions are mostly by Moraz, fairly simple structures that allow for a large degree of improvisation from both players. The production is of high quality. The bonus live tracks are OK but nothing special - they include Moraz using electronic keyboards and I found some of the synth sounds he chooses rather thin and nasal - should have stuck with piano, Pat! Another case of more is less with bonus tracks. Overall though I enjoyed it and if if you like either of these players you should add it to your collection. 3 stars fits the bill - good, but not essential.

Maybe this review isn't the place to say this but I will anyway - in the same week I bought this album, I also acquired Jan Hammer's "The First Seven days" - an out and out progressive album that is not listed on PA - yet this jazz album is here! Granted no system is perfect but...

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Send comments to Phil (BETA) | Report this review (#70296)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The title of this album talks by itself: "Music for piano and drums". Despite the 2 musicians involved played for Yes, this record has NOTHING to do with the progressive rock band. The music here consists in sometimes lively & joyful sometimes dark & enigmatic rhythmic and/or delicate piano with a strong jazz influence combined with absolute jazz drums! Bill Bruford has a COMPLETELY different style here to what he used to show us in the past: for the first time, he really focuses on the cymbals arrangements; and he succeeds EXTREMELY well! Patrick Moraz is really an OUTSTANDING piano player, and he clearly shows it here! He can play VERY fast and scattered significant parts, and his piano has a really pleasant, rich & colorful sustained sound. The OUTSTANDING side 2 is much more catchy and accessible, and it remains VERY elaborated and complex. The side one is more experimental, although is still remains very good and structured. We have the proof here that Bruford with Yes does not use all his talent...Moraz & Bruford together is a WINNING combination!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#70585)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Review by Rizal B Prasetijo

While the two names are considered as the progressive rock gurus, you shouldn't think Moraz-Bruford's Music for Piano and Drums (October 1983) is a progressive rock album. In fact, this is probably one of complicated 1980s progressive jazz albums that I've ever heard.

It is no strange for me that both well respected musicians played the genre as Moraz, who was classically trained at the Conservatory of Lausanne, played jazz before entering the prog rock ring, while Bruford was influenced heavily by American jazz when he was a teen.

The album is opened up by a 4:54 composition titled Children's Concerto, describing the happines enjoyed by children seen from the adult perspective. While you might not fully remember and, thus, appreciate your childhood, you must sometimes miss the joy that you had while you were kid. And that is precisely what these two gurus want to convey in their musical languages. Moraz's fast piano tempo and Bruford's forceful, highly precise, polyrhythmic drumming style, especially by articulating his cymbals and bass drums, are able to portray the laugh and happines of these children (or being kids). Amazing!!!

The next compositions: Living Space (3:53) and Any Suggestions (5:39) are more expiremental compositions for my ears. In my interpretation, both musicians attempted to describe the three dimensional nature of a room (achieved by the combination of Moraz's forceful stacato and Bruford's snare drums) in the Living Space, threw out line of notes, and asked listener how well their musics are in Any Suggestions. Bruford's jazzy cymbals and bass drums blended well with Moraz's piano liners in Any Suggestion, but I do not clearly see the essence of his almost 60 solo drumming at the end of the composition.

The 6:48 Eastern Sundays portray a rather hazy slow Eastern Sundays as a start. The description was achieved by playing a relatively slow tempo at the beginning. However, when Messrs. Moraz and Bruford altered their tempo post the 3:00 and injected a doze of energy into their works, the ambiance is somewhat changed, though I could sense that it still pictures a hazy Eastern Sunday.

My brain and sixth sense were forced to work hard in interpreting the next 4:49 Blue Brains. I was initially unaware that the album's cover painting is also called Blue Brains--a sketch of nude male moves in a slow motion. Moraz's forceful mid tempo low octave notes and Bruford's percussions smartly described the slow motion of the nude male painted in the album cover. Listen carefully and you could sense that he is walking, dancing, bending his body, and jumping in front of you.

Unlike other composition in this album, the 3:42 Symmetry is an experimental song, capitalizing on the stereo recording technique. It is opened by Moraz's relatively fast tempo piano and Bruford's forceful tom tam and cymbals on the right channel, before the sound of their instruments gradually moving into the center. Unless you are using solid state, or INPOL, or OTL tube amplifiers, you'll certainly miss the dynamic of Moraz's piano and Bruford's drums in this composition.

The 5:22 Galatea (the Greek's mythology character) is started with somewhat complicated piano notes, but post the 1:58, the composition changes into a subtle gentle piano composition. Bruford's jazzy beats accentuated the romantic side of the song. As you may have been aware, Galatea is actually an ivory statue brought to life by goddess Aphrodite as the answer of prayer of King Pygmalion who had crafted her with his own hands. The King fell in love and both finally married. The complicated part of the composition must, therefore, depict how worry the King was before his pray was answered, while the romantic side portrayed how happy their marriage was.

Bruford's jazzy cymbals, hi hat, and bass drums produce strong colors in the 6:25 Hazy. It blended well with Moraz's forceful stacato piano chorus notes. Bruford's polyrhythmic drumming at 4:45 to 5:10 was particularly impressive. Again, you need to use solid state, or INPOL, or OTL tube amplifiers to listen and feel the dynamics of this composition.

In general, this album isn't easy to be digested. You shouldn't listen it because you want to relieve your stress. In fact, interpreting compositions in the album is pretty much similar to digesting what your calculus professor told you what dx/dy was in your university days. That said, I am amazed to the ability of Messrs. Moraz and Bruford to create these complicated compositions.

Finally, as an audiophilist, I would recommend track #6 (Symmetry) and #8 (Hazy) of the album as reference materials to test your audio system. While this album was recorded at low decibel input (you need to really cranck up your audio volume), Moraz's piano is suitable as the reference of your mid-range, Bruford cymbals and hi-hats are good to examine your hi frequency, while his bass drum is obviously for your low frequency. If you have the right system, the dynamic of these two songs should blow up your ears. Happy listening. Regards, Rizal B. Prasetijo

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#156116)
Posted Friday, December 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gerinski
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent album but beware, this is not a prog-rock album and it has nothing to do with the music of Yes, King Crimson or the Moody Blues. Rather, it is a hybrid between jazz and contemporary classical music for, as the title makes obvious, just grand piano and drums.

I guess neither Patrick Moraz nor Bill Bruford need introduction, both being among the most respected musicians from the prog scene of all times, and their love for jazz is also well known. After both having released a few solo albums with a supporting band, they joined for this peculiar duet album where they reconfirm even more if possible that their reputation as top-notch musicians is more than deserved.

You might think that a complete album with just piano and drums may get tedious and long, but being just 41 minutes long (I have the version without bonus tracks) and with good variation throughout the tracks, besides the amazing virtuosity of the two guys, this is not the case, although certainly you have to be in the right mood for it.

The opening "Children's Concerto" is a wonderful jazzy track, joyful and by far the most accesible in the album, with a catchy melodic line. It's a very uplifting song, reminds me of some pieces by the great Michael Camilo (although this album is older so I should say it the other way around).

"Living Spaces" is more like contemporary classical music, quite experimental, a bit similar to some sections of ELP's Toccata.

"Any Suggestions" draws more from free-jazz although it has some Emerson tints here and there as well. Both Moraz and Bruford deliver a terrific performance, as if the two of them are improvising on their own but still perfectly matching eachother.

"Eastern Sundays" starts softly in a slow tempo, on which Moraz's hands quickly start to sweep at high speed from end to end of the keyboard. The middle section picks up tempo and intensity and ends softly again. This track is a great example of dynamics control.

"Blue Brains" is based on a very rythmic, almost tribal drum beat, and Moraz's piano is also more rythmic and less chromatic than in the other tracks, more based on rock forms than on classical-jazz ones.

"Symmetry" is again quite experimental, with very fast playing by both, an impressive display of technique and coordination.

"Galatea" (after the statue from the Pygmalion myth, the same which inspired Yes "Turn of the Century") starts experimentally with an intriguing atmosphere but at 2 minutes it makes a surprising turn to melodic, and from there it cleverly switches between experimental tonalities and scales and melodic ones. Quite original and interesting.

The closer "Hazy" has a bit of it all, making a very good wrap-up for the album, and is maybe the closest to the prog track concept as we are used to, even if the instrumentation is limited to just piano and drums.

Surely this is not a record for everyone or every moment, I myself would not listen to this music all the time, but if you are in the right mood it's an absolute delight to listen to these two outstanding musicians letting their talent loose.

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Send comments to Gerinski (BETA) | Report this review (#293644)
Posted Friday, August 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars The first album by Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz was a welcome release. It was three years since the Bruford band had broken up, and while King Crimson was back (at the time), it was a less than powerful edition, passing off layered fingered exercises as innovative music (well, I suppose it was, in a way). Hearing Bruford in his own setting is always rewarding. And with Moraz, no slouch in his own right, along on piano, this album had to be great. And it is.

As the title says, the album is only piano and drums. No synths, no drum pads. And by nature, because of the instruments, and the musicians' inclinations, it's an album mostly of jazz. However, Moraz, with his classical training, brings a bit of classical style as well. As for Bruford, the worlds' greatest drummer is just that.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#583531)
Posted Tuesday, December 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Picked this up almost by accident as I was trying to find an album download that would enable me to take advantage of a 2 for £10 offer. As it turned out it was not part of the offer but I got it anyway.

The appeal here is two fold. You have a couple of the best musicians in prog and in addition you have something highly original. I suppose this could easily be filed under 'jazz' and totally forgotten but these two greats are able to rise to the challenge and create something interesting and at times quite special.Moraz is one of the most fluid players I know of while Bruford's command of rythmn and 'feel' is legendary. Words like delightfull and delicate spring to mind but also there is an intensity that is pleasing. Nothing is too forced and the semi improvisational stylings are ever so smooth. Does it get boring? Not really. They know just when to pick things up and they are not averse to pushing each other. At times its reminescent of Emerson and Palmer doing their jazz thing during the unplugged section of Welcome Back My Friends. Beyond that it is hard to draw any comparisons with any prog.

My version also includes the three 2004 bonus tracks where Bruford uses some electronic percussion and Moraz a little light use of synth (or maybe sampling). It still retains the acoustic feel avoiding anything that could be termed 'heavy' . The last 3 tracks are recorded live btw.The extra tracks brings the length to a healthy 60+ minutes. If you fancy something a bit different then could be just the ticket for you.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#781162)
Posted Monday, July 02, 2012 | Review Permalink

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