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Bill Bruford's Earthworks

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Bill Bruford's Earthworks The Sound of Surprise album cover
4.10 | 50 ratings | 6 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Revel Without a Pause (7:33)
2. Triplicity (6:22)
3. The Shadow of a Doubt (6:07)
4. Teaching Vera to Dance (8:14)
5. Half Life (5:18)
6. Come to Dust (9:56)
7. Cloud Cuckoo Land (6:05)
8. Never the Same Way Once (7:22)
9. The Wooden Man Sings and the Stone Woman Dances (7:42)

Total Time 64:39

Bonus feature on enhanced CD:
10. Never the Same Way Once (video) (6:48)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / drums
- Steve Hamilton / piano
- Patrick Clahar / tenor & soprano saxophones
- Mark Hodgson / bass

Releases information

CD: Discipline Global Mobile DGM0101

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and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS The Sound of Surprise Music

BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS The Sound of Surprise ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS The Sound of Surprise reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't get easily bored to listening on traditional jazz, and therefore I think I enjoyed this album very much. I think that Bill has recently done much more interesting and better material than his former King Crimson colleagues have managed to do. The sounds on this release are great, and the music has lots of interesting rhythmic ideas, which shouldn't elevate the sound of a surprise, as the compositions are mostly written by Bill. The recent Earthworks line-up has more neo-classical feeling in its music than the band's first incarnation had at the 1980's, and is thus more accessible to many listeners I believe. "Come to dust" is one of the most touching piece of music I have ever heard, and "Triplicity" has some rhythms which kind of I have never heard before (Bill playing simultaneously three different rhythms). "Teaching Vera to Dance" starts with a bass solo, symbolizing the dance step lessons to Vera, and after two minutes practices, the whole band accompanies the dance. "Half Life" sounds like a Red oriented King Crimson composition arranged for the acoustic jazz quartet. If you like jazz and Bill's works, would certainly recommend checking this album out. Following the high quality standards of DGM releases, there's also a funny mpg video clip of the band playing live here, more material found from "Footloose and Fancy Free" Live DVD.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Enjoying this CD for me requires right mood and condition. But there is prerequisite as well- I have to be able to accept jazz music. That's not really tough for me as basically I can enjoy the music under jazz category. It dated back in 1977 when I heard Chick Corea and his band Return To Forever delivered wonderful music of "The Endless Night". The stream of music was so captivating for my mind. I explored other albums of Chick Corea until I found terrific album "The Mad Hatter". Oh what a great music! I especially love "Tweedle Dum" which continues seamlessly to "Dear Alice" which really blew me away at first spin until now. Nothing compares to "Dear Alice"! It's so perfect as a powerful composition. Thanks to Chick Corea for showing me a taste of jazz music.

This album of Bill Bruford is different (even though not very significantly) from the music of Chick Corea where saxophone plays dominant role here - as well as piano. Structurally this album is less complex than Return To Forever or Chick Corea but the complexity stays at its arrangements and some textures of the music. Even I can confirm that this album is 90% jazz music while Return To Forever is 50% jazz. Take an example of track no. 6 "Come To Dust" which has relatively long saxophone solo augmented with excellent piano as rhythm section.

The style of jazz actually I can smell it right at the beginning of this album when the opening track "Revel Without a Pause" enters into my ears. The punctuations of jazz can be easily heard from the drum beats and piano rhythm that accompany saxophone as soloist. It's really enjoyable listening to Bill Bruford's style and the piano work that takes its turn to do solo work at approx minute 4:00. "Triplicity" starts off with excellent drum solo unique to Bill Bruford for one minute followed beautifully with great saxophone work and piano. "The Shadow of A Doubt" is a mellow jazz tune with nice accentuation of piano and drums. "Cloud Cuckoo Land" is another excellent track with dynamic combination of piano, drum and alto sax. There are many syncopated segments offered by this tune.

Well, I can only say that this is definitely an excellent jazz composition that anyone who has a sense of jazz music must own it. The composition is tight, songwriting is excellent and performance is great. Recommended!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by fuxi
3 stars I'm afraid this album is not going to convert many proggers to BB's Earthworks, since most of the main themes are unmemorable (a common problem in modern jazz) and, try as I might, I find it hard to love Patrick Clahar's sax playing. I mean, the guy is GOOD, as dozens of saxophonists are, but he doesn't move me or carry me away. It does not surprise me that we haven't heard from him since he left Earthworks.

Pianist Steve Hamilton, on the other hand, provides at least one exquisite little solo on each track. Hamilton's only problem may be that he's a little too unassertive... One longs for jazz pianists who really make the earth move.

It's worth pointing out that the same band actually sounds far, far more exciting on FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY FREE, the superb double live CD that was released soon after this album. In a live situation THE SOUND OF SURPRISE's best tracks get reworked with far greater energy than here.

The fact remains that, if you're a true Bruford fan, this album will be worth buying for the master's contributions alone. As the years rolled by, Bill's playing kept getting better and better... If you're really enamoured of his style (be it with Yes, King Crimson or in whatever context) you'll definitely want to give this album a spin from time to time, just to remind yourself of the superb things Bill used to do. So let me recommend this album to all Bruford freaks, albeit with reservations.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you're there searching for some prog experiments from ex-Yes and KC drummer Bill Bruford - you will be very disapponted!

Even if you're fan of his solo works, the music here is different : shortly, you will find classic acoustic jazz. With no even small experiments or inventions.

But very high quality jazz - perfect techniques, perfect sound, nice melodies.

So there just two recommendations are possible in that case:

- if you are proghead searching for new prog from great prog-drummer, just forget about it! Zone of your interest is limited somewhere in Bruford solo albums.

- if you like jazz, and quite conservative, with high level technique, bright melodies and nice sound, I think you wouldn't be disappointed!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An album of music that doesn't really fit into the "progressive rock music" category by any way, shape, or means, drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford continues to gather young jazz musicians willing to push the boundaries of modern improvisational JAZZ--and here he's recruited a true power trio to help him realize his jazz-rock vision. You go, Bill!

1. "Revel Without A Pause" (7:33) pretty standard sax jazz. (13/15)

2. "Triplicity" (6:22) opening with one minute of wonderful solo Bill, the Latinized music that follows shifts into straight melodic jazz and back to Latin-rhythm base over an over, several times a minute, to great effect: it's really cool and different! Definitely a rhythmist's song. And filled with great, lush melodies from all instrumentalists. Modern jazz at its most sublime! (10/10)

3. "The Shadow Of A Doubt" (6:07) awesome melody start that moves into a beautiful, emotional soprano sax led ballad format. Gorgeous. Definitely a saxophone player's song--and a masterpiece of such--but maestro Steve Hamilton's piano gets its time in the spotlight as well. Songs like this remind me of how wonderful jazz can be. (10/10)

4. "Teaching Vera To Dance" (8:14) this one opens with a long bass solo before exploding into an almost-funky little ditty. If there's a weakness in this song, it is, unbelievably, in the drums: they seem a bit off time and "tired." (Intentionally so?) Not as melodic or engaging as the previous songs, this is more like the cold modern jazz that I've become accustomed to since the 1980s--mechanical and lacking heart. (12.5/15)

5. "Half Life" (5:18) straight time from the drums and yet syncopation from the others! How unlike Bill! It does create a tension that builds interest and intrigue. Stylist switch to a swing at the 2-minute mark makes it even more interesting as piano and sax continue on as if nothing has changed. Nice LYLE MAYS-like piano solo in the fourth minute (which turns CHICK COREA-like towards the end) as Bill and bassist Mark Hodgson do interesting things beneath. Cool song! (9/10)

6. "Come To Dust" (9:56) meandering piano play at the beginning has a gorgeous JOE SAMPLE Carmel kind of feel to it. When the rest of the band joins in at the end of the second minute it keeps the pace at a very slow, introductory, and exploratory place. In the piano solo central to the song's middle I hear the heart-felt daydreaming of VINCE GUARALDI. Another exemplary jazz masterpiece. (19/20)

7. "Cloud Cuckoo Land" (6:05) more fairly standard jazz. Nothing too special or innovative here. (8.5/10)

8. "Never The Same Way Once" (7:22) This one has a very CHICK COREA/RETURN TO FOREVER feel to it (despite not having guitar or anything electric involved). The RTF/Chick sound, style, and pacing is so distinctive; this is quite a remarkable replication. Even the bass solo is pure Stanley Clarke! In the end, all I can say is, "Wow!" (14/15)

9. "The Wooden Man Sings and The Stone Woman Dances" (7:42) Bill finally lets loose--forgets all time constraints--and goes wild--but in a subtle way! Just listening to the high-hat play is enough to cause me to smile and, often, drop my jaw. Then to listen how synced in Bill's kick drum and Mark's bass are. Remarkable! On another run through I could hear how Steve's piano and Patrick Clahar's soprano sax have the same amazing entrainment going on. This band must have had a lot of fun playing with one another. Then there is the final two minutes of the song where Patrick leads the band on a rampage the likes of which Chick & Return to Forever could only achieve in their very prime. Great work, Patrick! (14/15)

Total Time: 58:46

Some pretty standard saxophone-led jazz peppered with the odd syncopation or unusual time signature, but impeccably performed and recorded. I'm not sure how this one sneaks into the "progressive rock" genre--I suppose only on the coattails of Mr. Bruford's name and legacy.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of modern JAZZ--putting on display just the kind of subtle nuances that are needed to keep jazz fresh and "progressive" yet keeping the music accessible, memorable, and beautiful. Mega kudos to you, Bill Bruford, for your integrity and impeccable style.

P.S. Very cool album cover!

Latest members reviews

4 stars A traditional jazz line up playing an acoustic fusion like no other, this album is gem from Bruford in both composition and talented drum play. Bruford really plays into this style of music with plenty of compound time signatures playing on the back beat . The usual bruford style of play. But th ... (read more)

Report this review (#181608) | Posted by kingwingding | Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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