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BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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BILL BRUFORD and TONY LEVIN, two very well known prog musicians, formed BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES for a while, which was a fusion band. They put out two albums, a self-titled and a live album called "Blue Nights." David Torn and Chris Botti were the other two members of the band.

If you're a fan of either of the two than it's essential to check out this project of course!



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
A group created by Bill Bruford and Tony Levin, fusion too!

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BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 43 ratings
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
1998

BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 24 ratings
Blue Nights
2000

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BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blue Nights by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Live, 2000
3.60 | 24 ratings

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Blue Nights
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This double live album from BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES was released the year after their only studio record in 2000. The same lineup of course with Bruford, Levin, Torn and Botti bringing us more of that atmospheric, experimental, and at times heavy brand of music that certainly contains the spirit of KING CRIMSON. Torn on guitar is so impressive with his guitar expressions that create atmosphere and noise. He's always interesting anyway and having Botti's trumpet as part of this adds a unique flavour. Levin and Bruford are well...Levin and Bruford. All of the songs from their studio album are here except for one.

Disc one opens with "Piercing Glances" which opens with drums only and the crowd applauds Bruford 2 minutes in as he continues to play. A change 3 minutes in as deep experimental sounds come in and it starts to build a minute later. It settles back then the trumpet joins in at 6 minutes as sounds continue to come and go. It blends into "Etude Revisited" where the tempo picks up right away. Intricate sounds and atmosphere standout here. Great sound 2 1/2 minutes in when it becomes fuller. The guitar is ripping it up before 4 minutes and the trumpet starts to blast. "A Palace Of Pearls" is atmosphere and reserved trumpet as the percussion joins in. This is laid back. It turns fuller after 3 1/2 minutes. "Original Sin" builds slowly with bass and drums while experimental guitar sounds helps out. Trumpet after 4 minutes as it settles back. The trumpet turns passionate and when Botti finishes the crowd applauds.

"Dentures Of The Gods" is impressive with those heavy guitar expressions. Powerful stuff as bass, drums and trumpet continue. It's insane after 4 1/2 minutes then it settles back. "Deeper Blue" is laid back with trumpet and atmosphere. The trumpet becomes more aggressive but then settles back again. "Cobalt Blue" opens with some nice bass then the drums join in. The guitar starts to make lots of noise then the trumpet comes in after 1 1/2 minutes. It settles with trumpet then picks up again later. Great sound 6 1/2 minutes in.

Disc two begins with "Fin De Siecle". Bass and guitar to start then it kicks in with trumpet and drums. Check out the guitar before 2 minutes ! "Picnic On Vesuvius" opens with atmosphere and melancholic trumpet. It's very laid back here. Bass and drums after 2 1/2 minutes then the guitar replaces the trumpet making some noise. The trumpet is back then it kicks in heavily before 6 1/2 minutes. Dissonant trumpet too. It turns spacey after 8 minutes. "Cerulean Blue" opens with atmosphere then the bass joins in and drums after 1 1/2 minutes. It's heavy with guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. Love the guitar throughout this track, it's dangerous. "Bent Taqasim" is an experimental piece that blends into "Tom Drumbass". It continues to be dark and experimental. Acoustic guitar then a beat a minute in. Trumpet before 2 minutes and it's still laid back.

"Cracking The Midnight Glass" is dark with bowed bass then it kicks in heavily before 2 minutes. This is KING CRIMSON-like. Nasty ! "Presidents Day" features trumpet and a catchy beat. A nice heavy sound before 3 minutes with trumpet. Avant sounds 5 minutes in to end it. Now when this song ends Bruford speaks to the crowd saying that about this time in the concert they like to do a track off of "Cloud About Mercury" from David Torn's solo album that both Bruford and Levin played on. Anyway I didn't know Bruford was so funny as he says : "You did mix the drums didn't you David on that one ? Or did you just not get around to it ? I see the rhythm section was a tad quiet bit I understand it was a time restraint...nothing personal then ?" David shouts "It wasn't me !" Hilarious stuff. This song is a definite highlight and it's called "3 Minutes Of Pure Entertainment". Just a great sound to start with the bass, drums and guitar then the trumpet joins in. This is restrained power and I love it. It does kick in after 5 minutes and doesn't settle back until before 8 1/2 minutes as the crowd cheers. "Outer Blue" ends it with interesting sounds with those deep pulses along with the trumpet and experimental sounds.

A great recording to be sure but I actually prefer the studio album. Still it's easily 4 stars and well worth tracking down.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I had no idea what I was getting into with this album. Bruford and Levin keep that KING CRIMSON spirit alive with some heavy, experimental and Avant-garde music. David Torn is a mad man here, i've never heard him play like this before. And having Botti on trumpet playing so dissonant and passionate made me think of Miles at times. In fact a customer asked me if I was listening to Miles Davis as he listened intently. I love this stuff. Dark, heavy, experimental and the playing is flat out incredible to say the least.

"Cerulean Sea" has such an interesting sound to it. It's intense, catchy, repetitive and powerful. "Original Sin" begins with "Interlude" where the bass and drums sound amazing as the trumpet joins in. Guitar expressions follow as we are into the main track along with other strange sounds. The guitar is wicked here. The trumpet is back to the fore but then the guitar takes that role before 4 minutes. Insanity ! "Etude Revisited" opens with us listening to a conversation as bass and drums kick in and take over. The trumpet starts to blast and the guitar is crazy. This blows my mind. That conversation is back to end it. "A Palace Of Pearls (On A Blade Of Grass)" is atmospheric as sounds pulse and the trumpet comes and goes tastefully for a change (haha). Loud bangs follow after 3 minutes as the atmosphere gets louder. Lots of percussion sounds late. "Fin De Siecie" turns heavy quickly as the trumpet plays over top. It turns even more heavy duty before 2 minutes as the guitar also joins in. It then settles with trumpet. We're cooking again before 4 minutes. The drums are louder to end it.

"Cracking The Midnight Glass" has what sounds like bowed bass and I love when the sound kicks in at a minute. So freaking good ! The bass, guitar and drums lead here. it picks up before 2 minutes as contrasts continue. This is a monster folks as it ends with bowed bass just like it began. "Thick With Thin Air" is dark as strummed guitar arrives 2 minutes in. Atmosphere follows to end it. "Cobalt Canyons" has some killer bass and drum work. How good is this ? Someone call 911 'cause Torn is on fire after 2 minutes. "Deeper Blue" has these deep bass lines that growl as gentle guitar helps out. Trumpet joins in playing over top. A relaxed tune. "President's Day" is catchy as the trumpet plays over top. It settles before 3 minutes but kicks back in quickly. A dark atmosphere arrives before 5 minutes.

I would dare say that this is the best thing i've heard Bruford in besides KING CRIMSON and YES. I still can't believe how amazing this is. Thankyou so much Todd for allowing me to finally hear this.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars How Tony Levin has been able to maintain such enthusiasm, creativity, acitivity, vibrancy, and busy-ness for over 35 years is a true testament to this man's love for music. And he as much as any other modern musician has constantly, aggressively tested the boundaries of his instrument (the 'bass'). Though "B.L.U.E." feels very familiar--KING CRIMSON with some EARTHWORKS--there is a lot of masterful music here. A lot of older themes and sonic rhythms and textures are here explored further or differently. The contributions of David Torn and Chris Botti are wonderful, but it is Levin who continuously draws the listener in. Have you ever seen this man in concert? Even in King Crimson it was always him I was drawn back to watching--so astounded was I that so many sounds were coming from his instrument, so amazing were his personal contributions to the polyrhythms and polyphonics of that band. (Besides, I myself played Chapman Stick for a while.) "B.L.U.E" is an excellent album--perhaps not as highly emotional nor as melodic as some like, but, as for an exhibition of mastery and progressive exploration of musical possibilities, this is a good one. 4 stars--excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Still getting my feet wet in the Jazz and Jazz-Rock musical arena, I will often reach out for more familiar names as a way of ensuring my enjoyment of the music in question. Since I'm familiar with Tony Levin and Bill Bruford's work from elsewhere, picking up seemed like a no-brainer. I'm very happy with that choice, because this truly is a great album.

''Cerulean Sea'' Starts out with a nice ambient fade in, soon followed by harsh, chugging electric guitar. After that, Levin's signature bass style comes in, and finally some lyric-less vocals and flute effects (apparently all produced by loops and keyboards) come in to complete the atmospheric ensemble. Bill Bruford's solid, creative drumming is in full form on this track as always, and although this track is more or less a rinse and repeat of the musical build I just described, it's still really fun to listen to. And of course Bruford mixes things up with his various drum styles, so even when Levin and Torn are playing the same thing over again, Bill is helping keep the originality and excitement consistent. Over all not the greatest track, but still worth hearing. There is some creepy little moments during the last few seconds of this track as well. I'm not sure how much Jazz-Rock influence there is in here as much as it is Eclectic Prog Rock, but either way, it's good.

''Original SIn'' Is the first moment on this effort that is undeniably Jazz-influenced. Levin and Bruford provide a very groovy rhythm section while Chris Botti takes the lead role on trumpet. David Torn's guitar takes more of a backseat in this, providing an eery ambience through his otherworldy guitar effects, though he does get the opportunity to show off his chops around 1:37. He doesn't play like a typical Jazz player, here. But then again, his solo isn't all that Rock-oriented, either. Around 2:32, Botti comes back in with a beautiful lead, and all the while Bruford and Levin provide that solid backbeat. All of the players play equal roles for a little while until the four minute mark gets close. AT that point, Torn once again breaks out his stuff, and this time Botti chimes in as well, and they have a semi-duel with their instruments until the end. A few more last-minute flourishes from Botti brings this fantastic track to a close. Better than the last, undoubtedly.

''Etude Revisited''. This track is more Rock-oriented than either of the previous songs. I really like the tasteful diversity present on this record. It's probably the darkest song yet, with Torn providing single-chord strumming rhythm tracks as well as overdubbing himself with long, wailing bouts of feedback to add even more atmosphere. Botti is on top of his game as well, bringing forth some truly wild trumpet sections. Torn seen enough begins to play solid lead work over himself alongside Botti, and the pairing is dynamic as hell. Bruford is playing a consistent, stomping drive beat that rushes the song onward with plenty of angst. By the halfway point, the music has risen to place of wondrous heights, with everybody (except Levin) giving their all. It's a truly wonderful musical moment. At around 3:52 the rest of the instruments die away, making way for Torn to groove out on his own. This lasts only for a moment, however, and at 4:02, the entire band snaps back into gear again, making the power and grandeur of this music even more apparent to the listener. Like I said, I didn't think Levin was as audible or stand-out on this particular song, although it IS my favorite track on the album despite that.

''A Palace Of Pearls (On A Blade Of Grass)'' Has a very disorienting, subdued opening, with Bruford playing different odd bits of percussion, and Botti spewing out single, drawn out notes along with Levin in the background. It all gives the music a sense of foreboding and distant anxiety. Soon, Botti begins to take the reigns a bit more in the trumpet department, and his clear Jazz stylings begin to take shape once again. It's a gorgeous track, and also very sorrowful. Not much changes until a little after the three minute point, when solid, spaced-out drum beats finally start to take over. The distance between the notes becomes smaller and smaller, then again it all breaks away. Now only the initial percussion, echoing trumpet and light keyboards are present. In a very Avant-Garde musical sweep, primarily run by Bruford and his crazy playing, this track slowly winds down and comes to a stop. It's not nearly as exciting as previous songs, but it doesn't need to be. It's lovely just as it is. Besides, the next track more than makes up for this one's lack of speed.

''Fin de Siecle'' right from the start has a much clearer sense of urgency than any other track before it. Distorted guitars, incrediblu punchy bass and the chugging drums work together to create an odd-time rhythm section that doesn't relent. It's wonderfully groovy, and certainly has a more modern, Rock quality to it. Botti's trumpet is still there, but you get him in stints. He is missing for long periods of time as Levin and Torn trade off the lead instrument role. Eventually, around the 2:27 mark, things calm down and Botti gets to shine. Levin also comes in and plays the lead parts alongside the trumpet in a style that reminds me very much of Chris Squire. Some simple yet exact guitar chords sneak in from beneath the two main instruments, and then Levin takes over, causing the whole thing to reset. Once again, the brilliant rhythmic tricks comes in, but this time including a little more of Botti's trumpet, which helps the song seems more full, and the band more complete. Powerful, killer percussion plays the song out with style.

''Drumbass''. As much as I enjpy the cleverness of the wordplay, here, there is nothing much going on musically, and isn't all that fun to listen to, in my opinion. Not that it's meant to be anything more than a short interlude, I mean, it's only fifty-some odd seconds long.

''Cracking The Midnight Glass''. This song has probably the most powerful opening of all the tracks on the album. That sense of calm doesn't last long, however, and soon we are thrown into a schizophrenic rhythmic section that puts me instantly in mind of Led Zeppelin's ''Kashmir''. But this isn't that song, of course, and we eventually comes into direct contact with David Torn's wildest moment on the record yet. Pure distorted, feedback-heavy electric guitar shredding. Even when he gets more subdued in places, he is still heavily present. As far as I am concerned, this is his track. The other guys take a much lesser role the whole song long, which makes ''Cracking The Midnight Glass'' the most guitar-heavy, electric-oriented track on the record. Some folks may not like that, especially if they are expecting more Jazz than Rock from it, but I think most folks going this album will know what to expect just by looking at the musician lineup. In any case, this is a very good track, and one of my personal favorites. Just realize there is virtually no trumpet and only about 3% Jazz on this particular song, and you'll be fine.

''Torn Drumbass''. Much better than the previous interlude track. Levin takes control of things here beautifully. I actually wish it had been longer. Really great, far-east style playing. Well, at least to my ears, that's what it sounds like.

''Thick With Thin Air'' almost sounds as if were written for a film. It's very visual, with pounding, distant percussion, and not much else for the hole first half of the track. Close to two minutes in, we finally get more. An absolutely lovely clean guitar piece, eventually accompanied by building ambient keyboard layering. The song is then over before it really begins. A subdues track that felt a little incomplete to me. A shame, because I was hoping for that lovely melody to continue and build into something more.

''Cobalt Canyons'' then busts in with every musician again on top of their game, save Botti. Levin may be playing his best stuff on the record, here. Bruford and Torn are also really great at keeping things interesting. Rhythmically, this track is very speedy and complex, but melodically it is some of most funky, groovy stuff yet. I really enjoy this song, mainly because it puts me in mind of my more familiar music territory. This is very much Rock/Metal type guitar playing from Torn, and for me, it's a little piece of familiarity among the Jazzy, Fusion-tinged musical peaks. Since I come out of a Rock background, it's always fun for me to hear that stuff dropped in the middle of this type of music. By the song's end, Bruford is at his most impressive, gliding all over the kit with such ferocity and accuracy it's mind-blowing. A really good, rocking track.

''Deeper Blue'' is another straightforward (more-or-less) Jazz song in which Levin and Botti are the two main players. Levin is driving a most impressively beautiful musical vehicle white Botti rides atop it, playing his heart out on his trumpet. Soon you can also hear Bruford, paving the road for these men in his most Jazz-flavored playing yet. Sounds like soft playing with brushes and cymbal scrapes. Eventually, things get a little more varied and Bruford becomes more of a prominent piece of this musical puzzle. After than, the song dies down, returning to the same attitude and approach it started out with, and that is where it ends. Brilliant.

''Presidents Day'' is the final track, and it begins with a very Avant-Garde trumpet section, which never really stops. Torn is also playing his guitar unusually, helping to add additional frantic flourishes to the piece. Bruford also doesn't disappoint, and while Levin certainly is present, here, I still think his best moment on the album was on ''Cobalt Canyons''. Everything else he does on the album is SO subdued, I think he sometimes gets overshadowed by the bigger, more obvious playing of his peers. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, except I'm such a Levin fan, I think there could have been more of 'him' on it. I mean, a good bit of this final track is just noisegates created by Torn with Botti playing alongside them. Overall, though, the whole record is really fun to listen to, and worthy to add to any music fan's shelf. Especially if you're a Prog or Jazz-Rock fan predominantly.

Being someone who listened almost exclusively to Rock and Pop music growing up, i can tell you; Jazz and Jazz-Rock/Fusion is some of the most rewarding music I have ever had the pleasure of getting into. It may take a few attempts to find the right entry point, but once you do, you'll fall in love. I know I have. This album in particular is just the right mixture of everything, that I think newcomers to this style of music will be very happy with it, and I don't think there is any reason you shouldn't try it out. A couple of weaker tracks here and there, but on the whole a very solid, gripping release. Very highly recommended.

Happy listening.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Just listen! It is King Crimson (modern version) side project, without vocal, and with more jazzy sound. It is realy nice music, at least for KC fans, and for modern jazz-rock fans as well. Very professional, perfect sound, plenty of energy and ideas. You will like it!

Even Chris Botti.... I heard him in solo concert, and to be honest wasn't impressed too much.Very pop-oriented jazz sound, oldie-goldie songs collection. I had good seat in very good acoustic's concert hall, his team was very good, but Botti but himself attracted mainly 40+ yrs old aged women from first few rows. But there he plays music! I don't know, who's controlled his sound there, but you can be sure, that will hear attractive trumpet solos without your daddy's closet smell!

All in all, very rare Cd, but realy recommended.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Well I guess you can expect the kind of music it sounds when the two gentlemen who previously, years ago, joined in a legendary band with its unique musical quality and style, King Crimson. But this time they created a project called BLUE (Bruford Levin Upper Extremities) - what a great abbreviation - no wonder that the cover is in blue-ish fashion! Actually the two gentlemen ever made another project in David Torn's album Cloud About Mercury (1987) which featured similar line-up except the trumpeter was Mark Isham.

You might be guessing the music style would be similar with what the opening track 'Cerulean Sea' (7:03) sounds like. It sounds to me like an exploration of Levin stick bass playing and unique drumming style of Bruford. It's repetitive but it's not boring to me. The flavor of King Crimson 'Discipline' is quite obvious right here. It applies to majority of the tracks featured here. For those of you who love Crimson music in 'Discipline' (onwards) style must enjoy the music produced here. It's really an excellent album. One thing that I notice is that ''Cracking the Midnight Glass' (6:06) sounds to me like Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' in terms of string section.

Overall, this is definitely an excellent album that fans of King Crimson must buy this album. The trumpet playing is also great. The trumpet work by Chris Botti has made a significant contribution to BLUE. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild -GW

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars I first heard of this band back in the 90s, when one of the old Winamp preset stations had one of their live concerts available for streaming. I was immediately blown away. I must have listened to it every day for about two months. When this CD finally came out I rushed to purchase it. It was well worth the wait.

Bruford, as usual plays his drums and synth pads with his usual precision, breezing through polyrhythms like no one else can.

Levin (as a bass player, I'm always fascinated by his approach) adds to his impressive resume with his stellar performance here, especially on stick. I particularly like the song "Etude Revisited", a reworking of "Etude In The Key Of Guildford" from his "World Diary" CD.

David Torn shreds (pardon the pun) as he always seems to.

And if you only know trumpeter Chris Botti from his snoozer of a concert shown repeatedly on PBS, be prepared to be surprised. The guy can play out-of-the-mainstream, and excel at it as well.

Great fusion, somewhere between the Bruford band for fusion, and Earthworks for jazz.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Lophophora

3 stars It's an interesting work by two virtuouses at their instruments and create a very original and experimental sound, that recall the 90' King Crimson music but with more jazz than King Crimson, stand up in fact the trumpet of Chris Botti...also the guitar of David Torn does a good work...the gap of this album is a few expression of the melodies.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Prog Rock is both blessed and cursed when it comes to innovative and challenging music. It is fertile soil for change and expansion, yet difficult for artists to continually create something unique in such a fruitful movement. But this is what makes progressive music - rock in particular - special and what keeps us all coming back for more, high on anticipation, eager for the possibilities of something new.

Luckily for us, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin's project from 1999 delivers the goods and scrapes open like nails on a chalkboard with 'Cerulean Sea', immediately putting us in their world of elaborate arrhythmias and simple, focused lines on top. Levin of course handles all basses and the trusty Stick, guitarist David Torn also did loops and an array of noises he gives names (like 'brokenbird', 'noir loops', 'guitar sphere', 'hysterium', and 'light-industry dementia'), Chris Botti plays trumpet, and Bruford's percussives are as ridiculous and confident as ever. This first cut is a model of the quartet's careful balance between improvisation and precise undertaking, and shows shades of Miles Davis' restrained power. Brash counterbeats irritate Levin's wobbling, Torn's nervous rockingchair blurtings laced throughout. Some urban jazz kicks in for 'Original Sin' with crazed guitar-trumpet exchanges, and a candid discussion between Bruford and mates introduces 'Etude Revisited', a drone with horn and a bit of crunchy guitar. The distant sounds of the sea wash against 'A Palace of Pearls' built up with Bruford's electronic percussion, heavy electric jazz beats up on 'Fin de Siecle', and the deep tones of a 'Drum Bass' opens the Kashmir-like 'Cracking the Midnight Glass' and its deceptive timing. The Stick shows its versitility in 'Cobalt Canyons' while the spirit of Robert Fripp visits, and features loud but controlled chaos, finishing things with the clunky 'President's Day'.

The record has some problems with continuity and is far from perfect, but it reeks of a project well worth your time and should especially appeal to lovers of avant jazz-rock excursions. As well, the 1998 Papa Bear release comes in a colorful 3-way gatefold with a booklet.

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 Bruford Levin Upper Extremities by BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 43 ratings

BUY
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The greatest Crimson album without Robert Fripp!

I kid you not. If Fripp could claim that the King Crimson spirit was resurrected in the band he founded in 1981 (and which was originally called Discipline), surely these guys could say the same! For the life of me I do not see what this album has to do with jazz-rock/fusion, since it's closer than anything to Crimson music, and KC has officially been designated an "art rock" band.

Take "Fin de siècle". Surely the middle part of this wonderful piece sounds like a cheeky little parody of King Crimson's "Red"? Bruford almost admits as much in his liner notes, when he writes that 'the louche duet in the middle is all red velour and bead curtains'. And how about "Etude revisited"? Doesn't Tony Levin's stick-playing remind you of 1980s Crimson with their 'electronic gamelan'? Or take the opening track, "Cerulean Sea". Here, David Torn's obnoxious lead guitar heehaw is remarkably similar to Robert Fripp's playing on THRAK.

I don't mean to say that the album merely sounds derivative. Bruford and Levin, masters both, are in the spotlight throughout (on 'Drumbass' and 'Torn Drumbass' the two of them play a single instrument!) but trumpeter Chris Botti and guitarist David Torn provide original accents that are exhilerating and sometimes deeply moving. Botti's trumpet sounds wonderfully romantic on the gentle "A palace of pearls"; Torn provides manic lead guitar on "Cracking the Midnight Glass", an update of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" with exhilerating counter rhythms.

In summing up, this marvellous album will be of great interest to anyone who enjoys the musicians involved. It's almost as good as David Torn's own CLOUD ABOUT MERCURY, which was performed by the same combination of players (but with Mark Isham instead of Chris Botti on trumpet).

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