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Bill Bruford

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Bill Bruford Bruford: The Bruford Tapes album cover
3.63 | 58 ratings | 13 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Live, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hell's Bells (4:35)
2. Sample and Hold (6:35)
3. Fainting in Coils (7:25)
4. Travels With Myself - And Someone Else (4:38)
5. Beelzebub (Bruford) - 3:52)
6. The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 1 (5:05)
7. The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 2 (3:32)
8. One of a Kind, Pt. 2 (8:45)
9. 5G (2:38)

Total Time: 46:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / acoustic & electronic drums and percussion
- Jeff Berlin / bass and vocals
- John Clark / guitar
- Dave Stewart / keyboards and synths

Releases information

Virgin/EG EEGCD 6

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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BILL BRUFORD Bruford: The Bruford Tapes ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BILL BRUFORD Bruford: The Bruford Tapes reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A review by Rizal B Prasetijo (10 Jan 08)

In the investment banking world, especially if you work for an American company, when a compliance officer walks to your working station and give a material, you are supposed to immediately read, tell him that you have fully understood, and are ready to implement the "material" into the action. Putting forward your personal opinions, especially disagreement, on the material is strictly prohibited and could lead to the termination of your job. However, when Hamdi Riza Rachbani, my compliance officer, told me that he has a "special material" for me, he was indeed expecting my personal opinion on it.

The "special material" handed over to me was a CD, titled "The Bruford Tapes" (EG Records 1979 pressing). This rare CD is actually the live album of Bruford band's "Feels Good to Me" and "One of A Kind", broadcasted live from "My Father's Place", Roslyn, New York on WLIR ( FM92.7), in summer 1979. It was recorded on a two-track equipment. Thus, if you are an audiophilist, I warn you that you would hear an extremely high noise floor, which could disturb your ears, out of this recording.

The show was opened by the 4:20" jazz fusion composition, named "Hell Bells". David Stewart's synthesizer came in forcefully at 2 flats (C minor) before joining by Jeff Berlin's bass and Bill Bruford's drums. Alan Holdsworth's, recognized in the album as the "unknown" John Clark, came in last. That said, the fluidity of Holdsworth's guitar at 1:44" to 2:20" is a reminder to us that you are listening to one of the world's best guitarists. It is followed by Stewart-Berlin's duo on synthesizer and bass for 40 seconds up to 3:00". Berlin's quaver (eight) bass notes in this section is a truly ear dropping.

Initiated by 30 seconds Bruford's poly time signature drumming, the show was continued by 6:17" "Sample and Hold". The composition used various time and key signatures as well as complicated notes. The best parts of the piece, in my view, are the Holdsworth's eight-voice modulated delay technique, created a very piano-like sound from an ordinary electric guitar (you could hear it clearly at 0:50"-1:09", 1:24"-1:42", and 4:58"-5:15" sections) and Berlin's syncopated crotchet (quarter) bass notes from 2:25"-2:40".

Having made a 43 second communication to audience, the band played the 7:25" (including the communication) "Fainting in Coils". Listen carefully to the interesting Holdsworth-Berlin's guitar-bass duo at 1.48"-2.20", Holdsworth-Stewart's guitar-keyboard duo at 3:02"-3:57", and Stewart's staccato single chord combined with Holdsworth's sitar-like semiquaver (sixteenth) guitar notes at 5:12"-6:03". While each of musicians was given time to show their technical skills, their collaborations truly made the composition an interesting piece.

The next 4:38" "Travels With Myself - And Someone Else" is a mellow jazzy composition. Unfortunately, Jeff Kracke, the recording engineer, decided to end this piece unnaturally. The main attraction here is Berlin's quaver and semiquaver bass notes between 2:37"-3:31".

Opened up by energetic Stewart's legato keyboard notes, the 3:35" Beelzebub must rejuvenate the audience, who had been toned down by the previous mellow piece, at the "My Father's Place". Berlin's bass and Bruford drumming musically matched with Stewart's legato notes, while Holdsworth's guitar liners gradually induced a second ambiance to the composition, especially at 1:58"-3:08".

Having made another 22 seconds communication to the audience, the band played its experimental composition called the "Sahara of Snow" part 1 (5:00, including the 22 seconds communication) and part 2 (3:00"). The piece's title depicts a contradiction situation, doesn't it? The composition was initiated by Stewart's avant-garde keyboard sounds, combined with Holdsworth's distorted sustained guitars sounds, and Bruford's percussions. Then Stewart's solo keyboard came in at 2:54"-3:34". The second part was marked by Stewart's staccato chords for 22 seconds, followed by Holdsworth's solo guitar (with various guitar sounds) on the back of Berlin's simple crotchet bass notes.

No explanation why the band didn't play the first part of "One of A Kind" and decided to only gig the 8:00" second part of the piece. Initiated by Belin's 32 seconds bass liners, one of the best fusion jazz instrumental songs is evidence how Bruford band's members were able to collaborate. Bruford's jazzy drumming (cymbals, sometimes snare drums and tom-tams, and no bass drum) gradually changed into full drumming between 2:04"- 3.00" aided by Berlin's bass, Holdsworth's guitar, and Stewart's piano. At 4:28", the ambiance changed. I'm not sure whether the clarinet-like sound in 4:38"-5:22" was generated from Stewart's keyboard or from Holdsworth's legato phrasing guitar technique with light picking, caused a distorted guitar amplifier to produce a reedy, clarinet-like tone. However, having also heard the second harmonic behind the sound, I think there is a strong likelihood that the clarinet-like sound was generated from Hodlsworth's guitar.

The last song in the album, the "5G", is actually one of the most energetic songs written by the band. However, again, Mr. Kracke decided to end the song unnaturally and really send my angry nerve to the stratosphere level. It was opened by energetic and forceful phased bass riffs by Jeff Berlin (similar to Tetsuo Sakurai of Casiopea's bass riffs), followed by Stewart's fast tempo keyboard before Holdsworth's guitar notes breaking into at 1:32".

I wish I could be at the "My Father's Place" on July 12, 1979 and watch the show lively. It must be a great experience. Happy listening!

Best regards, Rizal Prasetijo

A review by Gatot Widayanto (Jan 2005)

This album is a MUST for those of you like Bruford's previous studio albums "Feels Good To Me" and "One of A Kind". Recorded direct to 2 tracks from "My Father's Place", Roslyn, New York on WLIR FM 92.7, July 12, 1979. In this live recording, Bill features the "unknown" guitarist JOHNN CLARK that plays pretty "similar" with Allan Holdsworth. As I have reviewed Bruford's studio albums in my past reviews, I consider that the music is a pure jazz-rock fusion with dynamic drumming, excellent bass line, improvised keyboard and stunning electric guitar. This kind of music has inspired bands like FINNEUS GAUGE.

This live album kicks off with Hell's Bells ["One of A Kind" album] in an uplifting mood. Its melody is dominated by DAVE STEWART's keyboard followed with John Clark's guitar and bass riffs . It's a nice track.

Sample and Hold opens with a wonderful solo drum, sometimes in staccato style, with unique time signatures. The music then flows into a fusion style with each instrument seems to play in different direction but produces incredible harmony sounds. This is very obvious especially on the combination of keyboard works and drumming, augmented with great guitar fills and bass line. The composition itself is complex, performed in relatively fast tempo with some tempo changes and transitions to quieter passages. The musical passage at the end of the track features duet of guitar and keyboard, accompanied by drumming.

Track 3 starts off with a welcoming speech by Mr. Bruford and explanation of the frst two tracks that he reckoned even with that, the band has not started yet. And he then says ".this music tells me that we must test .Fainting in Coils!" [ it is followed with a soft repeated keyboard chords in crescendos; continued with the entrance for full music play]. It seems like Bruford's speech replacing studio version's narration by SAM ALDER, ALICE ANTHEA, NORMAN TAYLOR and THE MOCK TURTLE BILL BRUFORD. It's enough to set the overall tone of this beautifully composed track. The solo keyboard sound and guitar fills are backed by stunning bass playing and drumming to accentuate the melody. The main music that flows is a kind of the four instruments' sound do not blend in harmony but it produces wonderful sound. I like it! Every musical segment of this track creates an orgasmic and memorable melody, especially the tagline melody which is played repeatedly. This live version is much more improvised. If you never heard BRUFORD, I would suggest you to play the studio version of this track first; taken from "One of A Kind" album. It's amazing!!!

Travels With Myself - And Someone Else is a very nice slow track with great electric piano, keyboard and guitar works. Dave Stewart's style is similar (or in the vein of) WEATHER REPORT keyboard play. Jeff Berlin's bass is also nice here. Unfortunately, this track is intentionally cut off before it ends naturally.

Beelzebub is, as you know, a very energetic track opened with the combination of keyboard and drumming augmented with Jeff Berlin's bass line. When the keyboard turns into an ambient mood, the guitar work enter the music. The music has frequent tempo changes featuring different solo for each guitar and keyboard. I like the exploration of electric guitar solo in the vein of Holdsworth which sometime use a long sustain style.

The Sahara of Snow part 1 and 2, taken from "One of A Kind" album, is performed in its entirety - more dynamic than the studio album. It starts off with a sound exploration in the vein of avant-garde music; ambient in style. The repeated chords of keyboard in continuous stream with an increasing register remark the entrance to a full music. The bass line accentuates this part and brings the music to let Mr "Unknown" to perform his Holdsworth style. It's a very enjoyable part. At the intro of part 2, the tempo changes into slower pace with a repeated bass line augmented with powerful drumming sounds. Electric piano accentuates the guitar solo.

One of A Kind is my favorite track and represents the first song I knew about Bruford's music. But it's a regret here that, unlike the "Sahara of Snow" that has two parts, this time is only part 2 being played. Uuughh .. What a regret for me personally because I like part 1 which is very dynamic tune. I don't know what's the reason of putting off part 1 but I guess it's because the limitation of LP capacity. But, actually the band can choose the part 1 recorded here than part 2. My best guess they put part 2 is because this is the part when all the "wild" improvisations take place. I must agree on this as - despite my regret of not putting part 1 - this part two is performed flawlessly. Musically, I have to salute and admire the band on this. So then, to kill my curiosity about part one, I used to play the studio version of this track right after listening to this CD.

Five G is a typical jazz rock fusion music with dynamic bass at intro part, played excellently by Jeff Berlin. And I think this track is performed much better in this live version. Unfortunately .(it's another BIG regret that I have with this album) it's not performed in its entirety for (I think) the limited capacity of LP at that time. I even hate why this track is featured in this CD as it ruins the overall listening pleasure of this CD. For me, this track fades out in a very rude way .. Too bad! (being the fact also that this is a concluding track that actually should serve as a climax to satisfy listeners).

So, what can I say about this CD? Musically, I'm very happy with the almost flawless performance of Bruford, Stewart, Berlin and Clark. They are successful in bringing the studio tracks into more lively nuances. However, the "fading out" technology has erupted my respect, overall, to this live recording. For a great fan of Bruford's previous studio albums, it's a big regret. It's not professional at all to cut the songs (it happens two times in this live record). I hate it! If all songs are presented in full, I would rate this live recording with four stars; but with this condition I would only give three stars maximum. As for the readers, be careful if you consider buying this CD. If you have no issue at all with "cutting off" song, then it's OK. On recording quality, it's OK but it would be better is some more bass sound is added. Keep on Progging! Progressively Yours, GW - Indonesia. [the land where prog is not a norm, but . we have conducted two PROGFEST and many of PROGNITES. Come over to my country and do your gigs down here .. we have a group of prog lovers here .]

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This album was recorded live in 1979, it contains material from Bruford his solo records "Feels good to me" (1977) and "One of a kind" (1978). The line-up is great (a kind of supergroup) featuring Bill Bruford, Canterbury legend Dave Stewart (keyboards) and Jeff Berlin on bass along the 'unknown' John Clark on electric guitar. The interplay between the musicians is outstanding and powerful, this is jazzrock at its best! Bill Bruford showcases his distinctive drumming, so creative and dynamic. Dave Stewart delivers a varied sound using electric piano, organ and synthesizers in a very tasteful way. Jeff Berlin is a virtuosic, playing very propulsive: his solo on "Travels with myself - and someone else" and the intro from "5g are stunning! And what about that 'unknown' John Clark? Well, to me he plays at the level of the other musicians and gets a lot of room to show his talent. His sound and style reminds me of Allan Holdsworth (fiery, fast and flowing runs like a violin). If you want more details about the tracks, I refer to Gatot's review, as usual very accurate and enthousiastic. And I agree with the remarks from other reviewers about the recording quality but to me it's not a problem becasue in the past I used to listen to a lot of mediocre bootleg progrock albums.


Review by Guillermo
4 stars I agree with some of the previous reviewers of this album: the recording is not very good (being recorded for a Radio Broadcast) and some of the songs are faded out and not included in their real duration, but this album shows how good was this band playing in concert, and it was the first time that I heard Bill Bruford talking to an audience as leader of a band.

All the members of the band are very good, of course, but Bruford, and more particularly bassist Jeff Berlin do amazing things with their instruments in this album. Dave Stewart also shows creativity playing those "old" synths from the late seventies. Guitarist John Clarke`s playing is so good that the listener doesn`t miss Allan Holdsworth`s playing very much.

The cover design of this album looks more like a cover design for a "bootleg" than for an official live album, IMO.

Despite being a very good band, this band was going to split after recording another studio album, called "Gradually Going Tornado". In his official website, Bill Bruford described this in the "Timeline" section, saying that his then management company (E.G.) was giving more support in 1980-81 for a reunion of Bill Bruford with KING CRIMSON, a thing that finally happened.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though the studio albums do sound better, 'The Bruford Tapes' is a magnificent performance by a great outfit. At their peak, Bruford's boys put on a great presentation of many favorites and simply cook all night at the kind of event one wishes they had witnessed. Another thing I really enjoyed is Bruford's method of arranging and playing his music, i.e. we get to hear him "test" songs which is a fascinating peek into his system of composition. In addition, this has to be one of the finest ensembles in prog history and the 'Unknown' John Clark (who was recommended to Bruford by Holdsworth himself when Allan couldn't do this tour) pulls off the best AH impression on record. If you can tolerate the radio broadcast sound of this CD (EG 1979) you shant be disappointed. I give it four stars here but it probably deserves five.
Review by Rune2000
3 stars The Bruford Tapes was a radio broadcast performance by the band on the U.S. leg of their tour. Allan Holdsworth was by that time already missing from the line-up since he quit following the band's first British tour in order to pursue his own solo career. This recording features material from the first two Bruford albums and John Clark was chosen to fill in the guitar duties.

There are two main problems with this release that could probably have been distinguished from my introduction. The sound of the radio broadcast of the late '70s leaves a lot to be desired of. I don't have a problem of distinguishing the individual performances but everyone who wants to hear a well recorded performance by this band is bound to find this recording lacking in the sound department. The second flaw is much less substantial and concerns the inclusion of John Clark who does an excellent job of handling Holdsworth's duties but I think that it would have been nice to have a live recording where Allan Holdsworth had performed his guitar parts.

This new line-up of Bruford/Berlin/Clark/Stewart would go on to record another studio album entitled Gradually Going Tornado before disbanding so this gig is by no means a one time deal. The encore number is Five G, here shortened to 5G, and it once again manages to do a great job although the sound quality does lower the performance down a notch for me.

Overall The Bruford Tapes serves as a nice companion to the first two Bruford albums. Still I can only recommend this recording to people who are already familiar with these compositions.

**** star songs: Hell's Bells (4:35) Sample And Hold (6:36) Beelzebub (3:53) The Sahara Of Snow, Pt.1 (5:05) The Sahara Of Snow, Pt.2 (3:32) 5G (2:39)

*** star songs: Fainting In Coils (7:25) Travels With Myself - And Someone Else (4:39) One Of A Kind, Pt.2 (8:45)

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This being the only official live recording of Bruford's fusion band (his best band under his name, if you ask me), we're kind of stck with it. The recording quality is only fair, as it was taken from a 2-track made for a radio broadcast. The keyboards distort some during Hells Bells, but otherwise the sound, for what it is, is decent. The last song on each album side on the vinyl LP (and apparently on the CD as well) fades out before the song is over. That is a shame, as 5G, the encore was just getting going as it fades.

The band was in fine form for that show, and John Clark, while not as unique a guitarist as Allan Holdsworth, does a good job.

Some nice moments: the band breaking into Back To The Beginning during Fainting In Coils, and Jeff Berlin quoting Jack Bruce basslines during The Sahara Of Snow.

Sure, we would love to have a better live recording of Bruford's fusion group. But what can you do?

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Travels with himself - and some others

The Bruford Tapes is a live album released in 1979 shortly after the One Of A Kind studio album. It features live performances of tunes taken from One Of A Kind as well as the debut Feels Good To Me. The line-up consists of Bill Bruford (obviously!) on drums, Jeff Berlin on bass, and Dave Stewart on keyboards, with John Clark replacing Allan Holdsworth on guitar. Clark was a student of Holdsworth's and was recommended by him as his replacement in the band.

The performance is wholly instrumental and even Fainting In Coils is without its original spoken word element which makes this version an improvement over the studio version in my view. The rest of the music is not improved upon though and I would recommend starting your Bruford experience with One Of A Kind before digging up this live recording. The Bruford Tapes might however be preferable over Feels Good To Me as a second purchase depending on whether you like the vocals of Annette Peacock who sang on that first studio album.

A nice addition, but not essential

Review by patrickq
4 stars This 47-minute live recording starts with an emcee's introduction: 'Alright. Live on WLIR-FM - - How 'bout it for a collection of great musicians, Polydor recording artists - - Bruford.' I point this out because he refers to a 'collection...of musicians' and to 'artists,' rather than to a group. So it goes, I guess, with jazz combos named after one of their number.

Synergy is defined as the result of pieces working together to form a system greater than those separate parts, and that's what's documented on The Bruford Tapes. Some of the improvised sections hint that this was recorded during two of the first shows of the tour - - their first with a new guitarist (John Clark) with big shoes to fill. But overall, the band is very tight throughout. As much as I have always admired both Bill Bruford (drums) and Jeff Berlin (bass), I'm most impressed with the work of keyboardist Dave 'not the guy from Eurythmics' Stewart, who moves among several instruments effortlessly.

The best performances here are the opener, 'Hell's Bells,' and the closing number, '5G,' the only track here that rivals its studio version. Too bad it... fades out?

Unfortunately, despite the excellent performances, The Bruford Tapes suffers from inferior sound. Of course these live recordings don't sound as good as the originals (which were recorded by professional engineers at Trident Studios in London). But audio quality of the CD (mine is the undated Editions E.G. release, not the newer Winterfold one) pales in comparison to other late- 1970s/early-1980s soundboard recordings.

But apparently, there weren't many professional recordings of concerts by this group. One is Rock Goes to College,recorded earlier in 1979 with Allan Holdsworth (guitar) and Annette Peacock (vocals), several months prior to the release of One of a Kind. The other I'm aware of is Live at the Venue, a 1980 gig on the Seems Like a Lifetime Ago box set. That concert was in support of Gradually Going Tornado, and featured several vocal songs sung by Berlin. So The Bruford Tapes is about all there is from the One of a Kind tour.

Overall, The Bruford Tapes is a very good album and a good example of the proverbial whole being worth more than its parts. Casual fans might be satisfied with Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind, but for Bruford fans (and many others, I'd guess), the paucity of available alternatives makes this a must-have.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have the complete show recorded with a Sony Reel to Reel as it was broadcast on WLIR FM that nite. Then transferred onto cassette (stereo deck) and later to Digital when that age was born. Now I will not rehash what has already been written about the performance and players. BUT some of the pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#1106013) | Posted by sturoc | Friday, January 3, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Bruford Tapes" comes from more than one My Father's Place show (if I recall correctly, Bruford did two shows per night, and played more than one night at MFP on that tour). The performances from the WLIR broadcast included on the album are 'Fainting In Coils', 'Travels with Myself', Beelzebu ... (read more)

Report this review (#295838) | Posted by ssully | Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Definitelly a very,very strong testimony of what was fusion at the end of the '70's!It's aLIVE document from a radio show,and despite the technical pretty low qualities of the recording,this album is something really exceptional!We have here 4 aces,4 tremendeous musicians in top of their for ... (read more)

Report this review (#264277) | Posted by Ovidiu | Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Taken from a live radio broadcast from " My Father's Place" in New York City in the summer of 1979 this excellent live recording features tracks from Bruford's two previous studio albums, One Of A Kind and Feels Good To Me. A mysterious but capable guitar player who sounds suspiciously like Al ... (read more)

Report this review (#27905) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a live recording of a radio broadcast from a club called "My Father's Basement". There is compression colouring the sound, typical of FM broadcast-quality, in contrast to the outstanding production qualities of the two Bruford solo albums that this tour promoted. The "unknown" John Cla ... (read more)

Report this review (#27903) | Posted by | Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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