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Moraz & Bruford

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Moraz & Bruford Flags album cover
2.81 | 38 ratings | 4 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Temples of Joy (4:51)
2. Split Seconds (4:37)
3. Karu (3:45)
4. Impromptu, Too! (3:30)
5. Flags (4:27)
6. Machines Programmed by Genes (5:13)
7. The Drum Also Waltzes (2:51)
8. Infra Dig (3:12)
9. A Way with Words (1:36)
10. Everything You've Heard is True (6:09)

Total Time: 40:48

Bonus tracks on 2005 remaster:
11. Eastern Sundays (Live) (7:28)
12. Childrens' Concerto (Live) (5:05)
13. Galatča (Live) 6:35)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / acoustic & electronic drums and percussion, co-producer
- Patrick Moraz / Steinway grand piano, Kurzweil 250 sampler, co-producer

Releases information

LP Editions EG ‎- EGLP63 (1985, UK)

CD EG ‎- 825 680-2 (1985, Germany)
CD Winterfold ‎- BBWF002CD (2005, UK) Remastered by Nick Smith with 3 bonus tracks recorded at Laforet Museum, Tokyo, July 4 1985.

Thanks to Artur Pokojski for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MORAZ & BRUFORD Flags ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (37%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MORAZ & BRUFORD Flags reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Star Spangled, but a Union of varying Standard

Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz had both tried with limited success, to pull Yes in a jazz direction. Had they found themselves in the band at the same time, the course of prog history may well have been different, but Bruford had long since moved on by the time Moraz arrived.

They worked together from time to time though, this being the second album to be co-credited to them as a duo. Such collaborations can be seen as a release for their strong jazz leanings which they were required to suppress to a greater or lesser extent while performing their day jobs. Moraz in particular was afforded little room for improvisation while playing keyboards with the Moody Blues, and to be fair that band's audience would probably not have welcomed such indulgences.

On their first album together, Moraz played only piano (hence the title). While "Flags" is also primarily a piano and drums affair, Moraz does allow himself the luxury of using his Kurtzweil synthesiser from time to time.

The opening "Temples of joy" is actually a rather vibrant synth workout which would have fitted in well on Moraz's early solo albums. Inevitably, Bruford's drums are well up in the mix, but the lush, quasi orchestral playing of Moraz is more than a match for them. All too soon though we are into the piano and drum duets which dominate the album. "Split seconds" is a messy ramble which sees Moraz tinkering on the piano while Bruford goes his own way on drums. Bruford takes a comfort break for Karu, which becomes a solo Moraz performance. The piece is very reminiscent of some of Rick Wakeman's more ambient pieces, the slightly echoed barroom piano sound being backed by some pleasant synth washes.

From there on, the tracks tend to merge into each other as Moraz knocks out a few tunes on the piano and occasionally the synth, while Bruford thumps away at the drums. "Machines Programmed by Genes" is one of the more interesting tracks, with good effects and a punchy main theme. It does seem at times though a little too much like the title music for TV show. Moraz gets his chance to go walkabout when Bruford presents "The Drum Also Waltzes", ironically the only cover version on the album. I suppose a drum solo was probably inevitable, the saving grace being that it is kept short-ish.

"Everything You've Heard is True" which closes the album is another decent synth drench piece, but inexplicably fades instead of bringing the album to a satisfactory conclusion.

In all, this is really an album for fans of Bruford and/or Moraz. While there are some interesting pieces, the album largely suffers from a sense of indulgence and navel gazing.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford were both members of Yes, but never at the same time. This collaboration between the two of them bears little resemblance to that band, however. This is more of a pure and quite typical Jazz-Rock album.

The first track is Temple Of Joy which is a composition previously recorded by Moraz for his self-titled, third solo album in 1978. I think this is a very good composition; possibly Moraz' best solo piece ever. I like both versions very much. The keyboard sound is not as thin here compared to the 1978 version and the drums are much more loaded and powerful here.

Many of the other pieces are based on just piano and drums. Moraz often sounds a bit like Chick Corea on this album, and sometimes like Keith Emerson, which is not a bad thing at all. However, I think the album would have benefited from having a couple of other musicians involved as well. Why not a bass player and a lead guitarist? Maybe Tony Levin and Robert Fripp? Or Chris Squire and Steve Howe?

I am not a big fan of either Patrick Moraz' or Bill Bruford's solo albums, I have always felt that these two players best works have been with Yes and other bands. Bill, of course, participated in making classic masterpieces like The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge before moving on to the very different King Crimson for Red and other albums. Moraz joined Yes a couple of years later and participated in making the excellent Relayer album, and before that he made a very good album with a band called Refugee. Flags is obviously nowhere near any of those classic albums, but I do think that it is equally as good as many of Moraz'and Bruford's solo albums.

If you like the jazzier side of things, this album is recommended. But if you are looking for anything Yes related, you might be disappointed. This is a bit too jazzy for my taste.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I don't really understand why this album is rated so low on this site. The performances are very good, as you would expect from these two prog veterans. My only guess is the variations in style may be off- putting to some. No matter. We all can't like everything.

Personally, I enjoy this album a bit more than Bruford and Moraz' first album, which tended to stay closer to the jazz realm. Here, Moraz adds a Kurzweil synth to his Steinway grand piano, adding more depth (and more prog) to the sound.

The first side of the LP is split between prog and jazz. Temples Of Joy, a piece from Moraz' 3rd, self titled solo album, opens the record. It is a pure symphonic prog piece. Impromptu, Too! and Flags, both with piano & synth, are also on the proggy side. Split Second and Karu are jazzier, but both fine works.

The second side is much more experimental, but even better than the first side. Machines programmed By Genes begins with spacy synth sounds, but develops into an almost hip-hop rhythm, while keeping the adventurous sound.

After a drum solo based on a Max Roach solo, the album concludes with three fusiony songs, where the synths keep the sound firmly in a prog realm.

Very nice. And very underrated.

Review by patrickq
3 stars Flags was the second and final LP by this duo. To me it's very similar to their 1983 debut, Music for Piano and Drums. Both were performed and produced by Moraz and Bruford alone, and except for one cover song on Flags, all compositions were by Moraz or Moraz-Bruford.

The instrumentation on Music for Piano and Drums was restricted to an acoustic piano and an acoustic drumkit, but some songs on Flags also include the Kurzweil 250 synthesizer, which was state-of-the-art at the time, and electronic drum pads (probably Simmons). In another notable difference, Flags includes some postproduction, including overdubs, while Music for Piano and Drums was a very "clean" reproduction of two musicians performing live.

Like its predecessor, Flags opens with a fanfare, "Temples of Joy," which is my favorite song from either album. Unlike anything on Music for Piano and Drums, and nearly anything else on Flags, "Temples" is a structured song as opposed to an improvisation. A few other songs here wouldn't've fit on Music for Piano and Drums, most notably the electronic "Machines Programmed by Genes." Most of the rest of Flags would likely have sounded just as good if rearranged for piano and drums. Bruford takes a solo turn on the Max Roach composition "The Drum Also Waltzes."

The variety in sound and instrumentation makes Flags a more enjoyable listen than Music for Piano and Drums, although it lacks the conceptual purity of its predecessor.

To me, the use of synthesizers on Flags invites comparison to the work of Bruford's eponymous 1977-1980 group, and Flags really pales next to any of those three albums. So, especially for Bruford fans looking for something jazzy, I'd suggest starting with One of a Kind or Feels Good to Me.

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