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Bill Bruford

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Bill Bruford Bruford: Gradually Going Tornado album cover
3.53 | 133 ratings | 20 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Age Of Information (4:41)
2. Gothic 17 (5:07)
3. Joe Frazier (4:41)
4. Q.E.D. (7:46)
5. The Sliding Floor (4:58)
6. Palewell Park (3:57)
7. Plans For J.D. (3:50)
8. Land's End (10:20)

Total time 45:20

Bonus track on 2005 Winterfold remaster:
9. 5G (Live) (7:23)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Clark / guitar
- Dave Stewart / keyboards
- Jeff Berlin / bass, lead vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums, cymbals, co-producer

- Georgia Born / cello (2)
- Barbara Gaskins / chorus vocals (8)
- Amanda Parsons / chorus vocals (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Neagu

LP EG ‎- EGLP 104 (1980, UK)

CD EG - EGCD 44 (1990, US)
CD Winterfold - BBWF005CD (2005, UK) Remastered by John Burns with a bonus track recorded at Louie's Rock City, Falls Church, VA, USA, 9.7.1979

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BILL BRUFORD Bruford: Gradually Going Tornado ratings distribution

(133 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BILL BRUFORD Bruford: Gradually Going Tornado reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is fusion. The musicians involved are very talented: Bill BRUFORD on drums, Jeff Berlin on bass, Dave Stewart on keyboards. Stewart's keyboards give this record a slightly urban style, even sounding sometimes like WEATHER REPORT!!! Sometimes, the tracks may be experimental and a little dark, reminding some KING CRIMSON influences. Jeff Berlin's bass is, as always, outstanding, loud and complex. He is the lead singer, and the songs may be surprisingly accessible because of his friendly voice. The guitarist is quite respectable. The songs are very good for the genre, and not extremely sophisticated.
Review by daveconn
4 stars Half of the songs on "Gradually Going Tornado" feature bassist Jeff Berlin on vocals. If you were burned by BRAND X's Product, take heart: this album aims higher, suggesting a Hyde/Jekyll split of UK or KING CRIMSON on the vocal tracks, WEATHER REPORT on the instrumentals. Again, Bill BRUFORD's contributions are primarily those of a composer, architecting rhythmically complex arrangements for the rest of the band to play while he assumes the role of musical straight man on the drums.

Guitarist John Clark, who replaced Holdsworth for The Bruford Tapes, is still in place but garners few solos (though he does factor into "Land's End" and "Q.E.D."), placing most of the music on the shoulders of Berlin and Dave Stewart. Of course, they're up to the task, whether it's painting by BRUFORD's numbers on the languid "Palewell Park" or matching each other note for note on the Jaco Pastorius-sounding "Joe Frazier". The only weak link is Berlin's voice; he's a better bass guitarist than John Wetton, Greg Lake or Boz Burrell, but they could sing rings around him. (To his credit, at least Berlin doesn't mask his voice into the murky mess than John Goodsall did for BRAND X.) Two songs most likely to tickle the toes of prog fans are "Gothic 17" (which was included on BRUFORD's best-of Master Strokes) and "The Sliding Floor" (which wasn't).

The former is a contentious slice of CRIMSON that recalls the work of Steve HACKETT as well (primarily "Racing In A"), the latter likewise pointing to the music that would appear on Discipline. Not having heard Feels Good To Me, I can't speak for all of BRUFORD's albums to this point, but it does feel as though he's settled on a distinctive sound of his own with "Gradually Going Tornado". That angst-ridden rock and watercolor jazz can coexist on the same album shouldn't be surprising (WEATHER REPORT did it all the time), but BRUFORD no longer feels derivative of other artists. Here, he's borrowing from himself (UK, KING CRIMSON), and the result casts his other musical contributions into a better light. Granted, YES represents an entirely different chapter than the music explored here, but fans of UK and the '80s incarnation of KING CRIMSON should gradually get around to buying (and enjoying) "Gradually Going Tornado".

Review by The Owl
2 stars I'd actually rate this a fragile good, bordering on average.

This disc does have its share of gems like "Lands End" (with a quote from National Health's "Bryden 2-Step for Amphibians" at the end), "v-QED" and the beautiful "Palewell Park". The rest though does not fare as well.

Here, Bruford's drumming sounds unnecessarily uptight and straitjacketed. Plus, bassist Jeff Berlin, while being blessed (and in some ways cursed) with a truckload of technique, is rather overbearing in the mix. Of course, Berlin's ego gets the better of him here (as it did in many situations) especially when he tries singing, a VERY BAD IDEA!! The angst-ridden post Crimson-ish musings like "Gothic 17", "Age of Information" "Sliding Floor" and the too straight-rock-for-its-own-good "Plans for JD" just make the folly all the more obvious. ARRRRRRGH! "Joe Frazier" seems more a technique showcase for the BIT/Berklee crowd than it does a song per se as Jeff rips up the fretboard. Personally, this kind of stuff got old for me years ago.

The Unknown John Clark (Allan Holdsworth's replacement, or more accurately, clone) just seemed gratuitous. OK, so he can sound like Holdsy, SO WHAT???? He added nothing of his own to the proceedings. I personally would've preferred someone with a very different approach and sound altogether or maybe a different instrument altogether. The "Holdsworth by Numbers" thing gets old real fast!

However, Dave Stewart's edgy and colorful keyboards provide many of the best moments in the midst of the more questionable moments.

For completeists only.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First off, I purchased the CD couple years ago for only one reason: to complete my collection of Mr Bruford solo efforts not with his Earthwork. Since I was so familiar with the other two studio albums which I considered masterpiece: "Feels Good To Me" and "One of A Kind" plus live album "Bruford Tape". So after I purchased it, I rarely spin the CD because my engagement with the previous albums while this album came later. One thing that put me into surprise was the appearance of The "Unknown" John Clark where I thought that his involvement with The Bruford Tapes was kind like a "virtual" name printed at the sleeve while the real name was actually Allan Holdsworth. Why? Because his guitar-playing style was 99% similar to Holdsworth. But in the CD sleeve of "Gradually Going Tornado" his face is photographed with other three band members: Bruford, Stewart and Berlin.

What's interesting to note here is that Jeff Berlin, the bass guitar master also does the lead vocal role. The album kicks off with "Age of Information" (4:41) which has an excellent rhythmic combining the keyboard, solid bass lines and dynamic drumming, stunning guitar plus a bit of floating vocal style. "Gothic 17" (5:07) starts with a soaring keyboard work combined with beautiful guitar work and cello by Georgie Born. The vocal line enters at quiet passage accompanied with cello. As usual, bass lines appear so obvious in this track. Guitar work appears thinly but very nice, mostly with keyboard sound. "Joe Frazier" (4:41) is basically a Jeff Berlin explorative work as it contains many bass guitar solo - despite the fact that this track was written by him. It's one of my favorite tracks. "Q.E.D" (7:46) is relatively long track with many styles starting from slow / ambient music at the beginning where the drum and keyboard work harmoniously. I personally like the drum sound produced plus the bass guitar solo followed with really stunning Holdsworth-style guitar by John Clark. It's a beautifully composed track!

"The Sliding Floor" (4:58) is another track with vocal in the same vein with first track but different style in moving the music from one segment to another. The combination of piano, drum and guitar give an excellent nuance especially with guitar solo where the bass gives really solid lines. Interesting to notice is "Palewell Park" (3:57) where it's written by Bruford but explores in great depth on piano solo combined with bass guitar in mellow jazzy style. It's a very relaxing music that is suitable as music for hotel lobby. Very nice. "Plans for J.D." (3:50) brings the music back to upbeat tempo with keyboard as rhythm section accentuated by bass and drum accompanying lead vocal. The album concludes with "Land's End (10:20) where additional voices were added with Barbara Gaskin and Amanda parsons. It's a medium tempo music, melodic, and has an excellent composition featuring excellent guitar solo, bass guitar, keyboard and great drumming. There are tempo changes with dynamic transition. It reminds me to the "Feels Good To Me" album. This track itself is really worth to determine the purchase of this CD. I never regret having this CD in my collection.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection especially if you enjoy a kind of jazz rock fusion album. The musicianship and the composition are truly excellent. It also suitable for those who like Bill Bruford drumming. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Those who are familiar with drummer Bill Bruford will expect high quality prog - indeed, all things I've heard with Bruford are exceptional, including this album, 'Gradually Going Tornado' - a personal favourite, more so than the previous studio album 'One of a Kind'. First up, Jeff Berlin is a Bass player first and fore-most, and one of the best I've heard, but he's not a great vocalist, even if his singing on 4 of the tunes on this LP doesn't (shouldn't) detract from the album's appeal. Bruford's drumming seems a little restrained on this album, but he still puts in tremendous effort, driving each composition along justifiably, Dave Stewart does his usual top-notch keyboarding, even throwing in some fuzz-organ solos on 2 pieces - Berlin's bass show-case 'Joe Frazier', and the lengthy (square root of) 'Q.E.D.', which harkens back to his previous band National Health - of which he (Stewart) stole one of his own riffs and re-worked it into the closing instrumental epic 'Lands End', including former Northettes Barbara Gaskin and Amanda Parsons on their usual 'la la la' vocals - definate Canterbury flavour. The remaining instrumental track is the lovely, reflective tune, 'Palewell Park', featuring only piano and fretless bass, and oddly enough, it was written by Bruford. Of the vocal tracks, 'Age of Information' kind of starts off mainstream-like but has a really good middle section, 'Gothic 17' is awesome - Stewart's icy keyboards supplying night-marish themes to this intense song. 'The Sliding Floor' is a busy, hyper-active number that jumps all over the place, with great lyrics and singing, tight and complex, and (the unknown) John Clarke has got to be Allan Holdsworth in disguise (not really) but his playing style and sounds are surely similar. 'Plans for J.D.' is probably the most standard track on the album, but pleasant never-the-less. A truly excellent album.
Review by Chicapah
3 stars This album presents one of the classic good news/bad news scenarios. After their brilliant debut turned more than a few jazz rock/fusion heads, three of the four members stuck around for the follow-up. That's the good news. The bad news is that the inventive, unpredictable (yet always entertaining) Alan Holdsworth was the one who departed and he left behind some mighty big boots to fill.

Things start well enough with the exciting, new wave-flavored "Age of Information" that is peppy and bright, containing a very catchy musical refrain with clever accents. However, this is also where you are introduced to bassist Jeff Berlin's singing voice. It's not that he can't hit the notes because he does that very well but his vocal has no character, no personality and it hangs around like a pesky gnat for the duration of the album. It's not his fault that he doesn't sound like Greg Lake but they could have done better with another singer. "Gothic 17" features a strange, jazzy vocal line (again, sung accurately but not memorably) and starts with a lot of energy before dropping down to a quieter level that utilizes a cello. This song is where "the unknown" John Clark (as he is identified in the credits) shows that, while he utilizes a lot of the same tones and effects that Holdsworth uses, he's not quite in the same zip code as his predecessor. In other words, the tune could have benefited from some of Alan's surprises. Jeff Berlin's incurably funky instrumental "Joe Frazier" is the highlight of the proceedings. It has an infectious high-speed melody played simultaneously by the bass and piano as its centerpiece but it's really a showcase for Berlin's fabulous dexterity and he rises to the occasion with an incredible performance. You'll probably want to play this one over a few times before moving on. "Q.E.D." is a very interesting song. After a mysterious beginning it takes you through many phases where there's not much in the way of melody but the towering quality of the musicianship is overwhelming and it never gets boring. "The Sliding Floor" brings back Jeff's limited vocals but the band creates some very powerful music behind him. The break down in the middle is a treat. Bill Bruford wrote the peaceful "Palewell Park" but he doesn't play a note as Dave Stewart's delicate piano and Berlin's bass are all that's needed to convey the song's soft meaning. It's also a refreshing change of pace. Bill's lively, slick "Plans for J.D." follows. Jeff warbles the odd melody as well as one can expect him to but this tune never really finds its identity and is forgotten as soon as it's over. Stewart's "Land's End" finishes the album with a flourish as the band creates a kaleidoscope of musical colors and hues. It starts with some intricate but freely drifting melodies before transitioning to an uptempo segment where Clark shows he's got game. A beautiful, slower piano part intervenes briefly, then Berlin gets another chance to shine on his bass. Drummer Bruford has been content to stay in the background up till now but here the spotlight finally turns his way and he flashes a couple of dynamic fills here and there to demonstrate that he's still got "it." The tune has a nice build up and takes you full circle to the original theme. A bit avant-garde but never dull.

After being wowed by "One of a Kind" I really expected more from this one but maybe that was unfair considering the circumstances. John Clark turns in a courageous (but ultimately predictable) guitar contribution and Jeff Berlin sings the best he can with what he was born with but the album was a step back. It never really caught on and the group eventually called it quits before recording anything else. All in all it's an above average album but not on the level as the first one. 3.2 stars.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Not as good as previous one, not better than Feels good to me, only some decent jazz songs with some great drumming and bass lines. Jeff Berlin's voice is friendly and calm, but on the first track Age of Information is absolitly mediocre in every way, he sings much better on previous album, with more passion. Anyway this album is good but less attractive, with less fresh ideas. Not really one of the best jazz albums, but still a good one. 3 stars
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Bruford's Gradually Going Tornado album had the unenviable task of following on the heels of Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind, two late seventies Jazz Rock albums, One of a Kind in particular of mythic status amongst lovers of Fusion and Progressive Rock. As a result of this it is often overshadowed by its predecessors which is a shame because this is an excellent album, if not quite the equal of One of a Kind.

The line up from the previous album remains with the exception of Alan Holdsworth who had been replaced by John Clark, a pretty serious loss you may think but Clark is an excellent player and an inspired replacement with a style similar to Holdsworth, fitting in well with the high calibre virtuoso playing of the rest of the band. Bill Bruford of course needs little introduction to Prog fans, one of the best Drummers in the genre. As expected his playing here is excellent, often keeping the music moving with what on the surface appears a simple groove, yet hiding a more complex undercurrent. Geoff Berlin, one of my favourite Bass players at the time doesn't disappoint with his upfront fluid Bass lines and neither does Keyboard player Dave Stewart. Berlin also takes lead vocals on much of the album and whilst an adequate singer is not spectacular. So onto the music, the album kicks off with Age of Information, a mid paced Keyboard dominated track which is not the most spectacular start and would have been better tucked away mid album somewhere. Much better is the far more dynamic Gothic 17 which alternates from driving rhythms to atmospheric Jazzy quieter sections. Both tracks feature Berlin on vocals. The brilliant Joe Frazier follows and is one of the best tracks on the album. An instrumental where much of the time Berlin's Bass and Stewart's Piano play in unison note for note with a complex patern. Clark also contributes greatly with some soaring Guitar and Bruford really drives the track along. Excellent stuff and one of the best Bruford tracks ever. Q.E.D., another instrumental brings things down a notch, at least to begin with before building up to some exceptional playing from all concerned, with in particular some great Berlin moments.

Another favourite of mine, The Sliding Floor opens up side 2 of the original vinyl version of the album. It's Berlin's Bass work that really hits the spot with his busy driving runs sometimes mirrored with Clark's cutting Guitar. It also features Berlin's best vocal performance. Next comes Palewell Park, a more mellow moment with some lovely Piano and beautifully fluid Bass, in fact the only instruments to feature on the track. The tempo picks up again for Plans For J.D., another song which has a nice groove to it and last but not least Land's End closes the album. At just over ten minutes it's the longest track on the album and much use of light and shade is made, driving one minute, more introspective the next and a fitting end to an excellent album.

So if you've never bought a Bruford album, go and get One of a Kind first but don't forget about this one and add it to your list for future purchases.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This, musically, is another fine album by Bill Bruford's fusion band (the first studio recording with John Clark instead of Allan Holdsworth on guitar), but I kind of wish they had left the vocals off of this one. As usual on a Bruford album, the compositions are intense and complex, the performances are fantastic, rooted by Bruford's amazing drumming and bassist Jeff Berlin's always intense bass lines. But the vocal melodies come across as something of an afterthought, wandering aimlessly around the instrumentation. And the vocal production to me sounds a bit off, as Jeff Berlin's voice seems a bit thin for the material he is singing.

But, all-in-all, not a bad listen.

Review by Kazuhiro
3 stars The activity of reformative music of Bill faces the revolution with this album in the age. It is guessed that the directionality at which he had consistently aimed continued without extremely changing though some the reasons exist. However, it is true in this album that became it for them at the end that groping and the change were surely seen. It is an element of POP by the song of Jeff after Allan secedes though the flow of the music character is followed. And, it was likely to listen to the performance of the person who was called John Clark of the guitar player who changed into Allan and joined the band and to have compared it by the listener with Allan a little being puzzled. The appointment of famous work with "Weather Report" Ron Malo certainly expands the width of the sound a little on the contrary. However, I do not understand whether the appointment of Amanda Persons and Barbara Gaskin acted well with this album, too. The listener might feel that the element of Hatfields and National Health is certainly taken to this album. Element..POP..element..combine..a little..directionality..chaotic..impression..give.All tunes are not the translations at all said it is bad. The musician who gathers has a high technology. However, they might have had them a little established of the habit of each performance too much. Live and the tour were high very performances of the level. However, the cost of carrying or carrying out machine parts is true in them becoming it impossibility to put out work due to the event. Not having succeeded in commerce except a high-quality performance received clarified sarcastic.

Tune "Age Of Information" guitar that symbolizes this time really recalls Allan because it has the tension of the level that is POP a little. And, "Gothic 17" impressive the progress of the code that Dave performed at the time of "Egg" Dave that performs such a tune shines really. I am wishing still when it wants you to pursue this sensibility further.

Jeff is trusted Bill has been rejected to Robert Fripp though they tried to participate in King Crimson in the 80's. The situation of Prog Rock might have moved to the revival of Crimson in the 80's and the revolution and the tohubohu be pressed to the situation of a surrounding band.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of really interesting Bruford albums. First of all, the style is pure fusion ( as it was on his previous solo albums). One of leading instruments is bass, and Jeff Berlin is perfect fusion guitarist. Just listen to bas driven "Joe Frazier"!

Total album's sound is heavy fusion, and in places remind me UK albums. How I understand from reviews, main problem for some listeners is Berlin vocal ( he is lead vocalist there). For me his voice is absolutely acceptable, even pleasant. It give some specific atmospher to all music. But even without that, musicoans are of highest class, and music also. Bruford drumming is not a main accent of this recording, but is competent. Stewart uses heavy synth, which gave to all music characteristic sound of that time.

I believe, that this album is one of strongest Bruford solo work. It consists of heavy fusion with rock elements, and should attract everyone, who likes UK music.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Bruford started getting into diminishing returns on their second album - in retrospect, it might have been an idea to wait a little longer to develop more strong material before issuing another product. Half the songs sound like rejected UK pieces (particularly with the Wetton-lite vocal style adopted by Jeff Berlin on those tracks he sings on), the other half sound like Dave Stewart's National Health off-cuts (the closing track, Lands End, even includes extracts from compositions on Of Queues and Cures). Though the album starts off strong, it lacks staying power, and sounding like a collection of rejected tracks from better albums by other bands honestly doesn't help its cause. The Bruford project would dissolve after this one and I can't say that its time hadn't come and gone.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The third release of the Bruford jazz-fusion project sees the absence of departed guitarist (extraordinaire) Allan Holdsworth--which meant a drastic lowering of expectations for all prog fans.

1. "Age Of Information" (4:41) rather pop-oriented prog with some of Bill, Jeff, and Dave's most straightforward instrumental play I've ever heard. Jeff Berlin as a lead vocalist leaves much to be desired and the guitar play of newcomer John Clark is barely recognizable. Luckily, the instrumentalists start to "color outside the lines" a bit in the song's second half, but those vocals are really a downer. (I'd MUCH rather have the much-maligned Annie Peacock on the mic.) (8.7/10)

2. "Gothic 17" (5:07) Guitar! Impressive in a Holdsworth-like way--and Jeff Berlin's funky bass is prominent--while his vocal is definitely being molded into a John Wetton/UK-like delivery form. Bill and Dave are good but never demanding our attention, but John Clark does a super job! (8.75/10)

3. "Joe Frazier" (4:41) now this is the Bruford we've come to know and love! (I'd heard this song before on the Master Strokes 1978-1985 album.) Bass and keys entwined in a demanding race against doubling Bill's time. John Clark's wailing Allan Holdsworth-sounding guitar enters in a solo capacity in the second minute followed by a pretty impressive bass solo from Jeff. Clark retorts with his own guitar pyrotechniques before yielding to Dave Stewart for a bit as Jeff's bass continues to wow and astonish throughout. Bill is just solid, driving, keeping fairly straight time throughout. More Dave Stewart but man is Jeff impressive! (9/10)

4. "Q.E.D." (7:46) a keyboard oriented instrumental showcasing Dave Stewart's Herbie Hancock/Joe Zawinal chops. Matter of fact, the song overall has a very distinctive WEATHER REPORT "Birdland" sound and feel. Though this is Dave's showpiece, there are some nice John Clark moments as well. It is, however, kind of sad to me to hear the band imitating other bands since I've grown so accustomed to Bill always paving the way with absolutely new and fresh creations. The well must be running dry. (13.125/15)

5. "The Sliding Floor" (4:58) a return to the vocal mic for Jeff over some pretty descent mostly-original music. All of the instrumental performers (and performances) are of quite a high level on this one (which helps me get through the challenge of "enjoying" Jeff's vocals). (8.75/10) 6. "Palewell Park" (3:57) a beautiful song duet based around some serene Dave Stewart piano work and embellished by Jeff Berlin's extraordinary bass play. (8.875/10)

7. "Plans For J.D." (3:50) If I try to forget that this is the jazz-rock fusion combo known as "Bruford" I could maybe appreciate these songs for their pop-orientations. They could be Squeeze, 10CC, ABC, XTC, ELP, or even The Manhattan Transfer. Still, this is by far Jeff's best vocal on the album. (8.66667/10)

8. "Land's End" (10:20) Bill's attempt to bring some UK and/or National Health back into the Bruford sound. The incredible, song-changing presence (and effect) of two-thirds of The Northettes doesn't hurt! John Clark's guitar soars and delights despite his conforming to the sounds expected of the "Allan Holdsworth replacement." The pace picks up with a motif change at the end of the third minute but then slows down and empties out at the end of the fourth--to make way for a pensive Dave Stewart piano solo. The rest of the band rejoins at 4:56 to present more "vintage" UK/Bruford-like music featuring some great, upbeat Jeff Berlin bass play and solid (and iconic) Bill Bruford drumming. Keys and electric guitar perform their own little magic throughout the seventh and eighth minutes (especially John Clark) before The Northettes and Bill mark a transition at 7:45. The new motif has organ and piano, hand claps, steady, coordinated bass and guitar chord play while Bill drives it forward. At the nine-minute mark a Bruford drum bridge brings the band round for a reprise of the opening theme and palette (with The Northettes in cahoots). I wish Amanda and Barbara could have had a little more room for improvisation, but I'll always take them in any form and dosage that I can! A solid prog epic sans vocals. (18/20)

Total time 45:20

I had not actually ever heard, much less acquired, this album until today (November 25, 2023). Though I still hear the stellar (perhaps unsurpassed) talents of each of the four instrumentalists working on this album, there is a disappointment factor emanating from the vocals as well as from the "borrowed" themes and sounds employed by the band for some of the songs (something they'd never really conceded to doing before).

B/four stars; a surprisingly not bad contribution to the music scene for 1980; definitely an album that most prog lover's will find much to enjoy.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Bruford's end

This album appeared just one year after the well-regarded One Of A Kind, but it is nonetheless quite different in style compared to that album. While One Of A Kind was an all-instrumental album (with the exception of the annoying spoken word passage on Fainting In Coils), Gradually Going Tornado features lead vocals by bassist Jeff Berlin on several tracks. Berlin also wrote one of the album's tracks on his own and co-wrote another. The style of many songs could perhaps be called progressive Jazz-Pop and several tracks remind me of Gentle Giant circa The Missing Piece to Civilian. Another comparison could perhaps be Steve Hackett solo around Cured and Highly Strung.

Guitarist Allan Holdsworth is no longer involved here, but he has been replaced by a student of his called John Clark apparantly on Holdsworth's recommendation. Clark has learned well from the master as he does indeed sound just like Holdsworth. Dave Stewart remains behind the keyboards and the most noteworthy thing about this album for me is the ten minute plus closing track Land's End penned by Stewart. This is an altogether more symphonic piece which makes it stand out from the other tracks.

Overall, I enjoy this album less than One Of A Kind but more than the debut Feels Good To Me. This was to be the end of Bruford as a band as Bill went on to other projects after this recording including further work with King Crimson and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (in which he brought Jeff Berlin with him) and Yes' Union.

Gradually Going Tornado is worth having but hardly an essential album.

Review by patrickq
4 stars Word on the street is that compared to the other two studio albums by this group, Bill Bruford's drumming on this LP is uncharacteristically straightforward. It's also been said that Jeff Berlin's singing is pedestrian. I can confirm that both of these are true, and that as a result, Gradually Going Tornado is quite different from Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind. Combine all of this with the loss of guitar virtuoso Allan Holdsworth, and it's probably a surprise that this album is the best of the three produced by this group.

I think the key to the success of Gradually Going Tornado are the ensemble arrangements, led by Dave Stewart's often eccentric keyboard parts and Jeff Berlin's manic basslines. As others have pointed out, Bruford's drumming is closer to traditional rock than to the inventive, oddly-accented playing he delivered on Fragile or Earthworks. The result, while still arguably classifiable as 'Jazz-rock/Fusion,' is less improvisational, and maybe more symphonic, than the group's other two studio efforts. Somehow, the generally unremarkable vocals don't detract from the proceedings, as they might have on a jazzier album. (Since I mention the other instrumentalists here, I'll add that Holdsworth's replacement on guitar, John Clark, is quite up to the task.)

The highlights are the vocal tracks 'Age of Information,' 'Plans for J.D,' and 'Gothic 17,' and Berlin's instrumental 'Joe Frazier.'

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Gradually Going Tornado" completed the ascent to great, inventive and clever jazz/rock fusion that Bill Bruford began with "Feels Good To Me" (4-1/2 stars) and "One of a Kind" (4-3/4 stars). Yep, this was the complete album from these guys that I had been looking for. Believe it - this is a maste ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441925) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, August 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I got a copy of this album when it was released but have never had access to the details of the musicians involved.......until now! I always assumed the vocals on this album to be John Whetton. That's Jeff Berlin? Spooky, man, tho' I did think JW's bass playing had improved considerably! Surely ... (read more)

Report this review (#171697) | Posted by Rabid | Tuesday, May 20, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think that many Bruford fans were put off with Jeff Berlin's vocal additions to half of the album's material. Reviewers have less given Jeff Berlin the credit for what he did at the time, which is an attempt to emulate Jack Bruce's (Jeff's idol) singing style on late Cream albums (check out 'A ... (read more)

Report this review (#47252) | Posted by | Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'll keep it simple: Amazing musicianship, Berlin is too good (he may not be a singer, but I love his voice & part of the greatness of this album is his singing. This is one of my all time great summer albums of all time. Had great times singing along with all my buddies along with J.B. o ... (read more)

Report this review (#27910) | Posted by | Thursday, March 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Excellent musicianship, as one would expect, pretty 'song-oriented', decent compositions, for me it's the quality of the playing here that's noteworthy. Berlin's bass work is top shelf, 'Joe Frazier' is a must here for any aspiring bassist, and 'The Sliding Floor' has a strong bass line as wel ... (read more)

Report this review (#27909) | Posted by Gonghobbit | Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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