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BILL BRUFORD

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Bill Bruford biography
Pick up just about any of the most successful albums from progressive rock's heyday, flip it over to the credits, and there's a good chance you'll see Bill BRUFORD listed as the drummer. Having played in perhaps more famous prog bands than any other artist, BRUFORD has, at one time or another, kept time for just about every major band in the genre, as well as maintaining a successful solo career.

Beginning his professional career while still in his teens, BRUFORD answered a drummer wanted ad in the Melody Maker and proceeded to join two young men in what he thought was to be 'a vocal group, in the style of The Fifth Dimension'. The two young men were named Chris SQUIRE & Jon ANDERSON, and together they formed the nucleus of what was to become one of the biggest progressive bands of all time, YES. After the worldwide success of their albums "Fragile" & "Close to the Edge", BRUFORD was eager to explore more fertile musical pastures. Leaving a band that was, at that point, poised on the verge of worldwide superstardom was seen by most as misguided at best, insane at worst. BRUFORD, however, felt he had learned all he could from YES, and was looking for a fresh musical environment in which to stretch his wings. He found just such an entity in KING CRIMSON.

After numerous personnel changes over the years, bandleader Robert FRIPP had decided to radically reform KING CRIMSON, and enlisted BRUFORD with the priceless quote "I think you're about ready now, Bill..." For the next two years, BRUFORD and CRIMSON produced some of the most innovative and influential music of the 1970s before FRIPP, in a prescient preemptive response to the growing grandiosity of the genre, once again disbanded the band in 1974. BRUFORD then shifted his time between a variety of projects. In 1977, he joined GENESIS as a touring drummer to allow recently promoted frontman Phil COLLINS to concentrate on vocal duties. The same year, he formed his own eponymous fusion band with Jeff Berlin, Alan HOLDSWORTH, and Dave Stewart. They released a series of fine albums which allowed BRUFORD ample room to explore his love of jazz.

After an aborted attempt at forming a supergroup featuring John WETTON & Rick WAKEMAN, BRUFORD & WETTON then joined forces with Eddie Jobson & Alan HOLDSWORTH to become U.K. The original lineup only lasted for one self-titled album, with HOLDSWORTH and BRUFORD both exiting the band before recording the follow up LP, "Danger Money". BRUFORD re-formed his ...
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One of a KindOne of a Kind
E.G. Records 1990
Audio CD$6.64
$6.95 (used)
Master StrokesMaster Strokes
E.G. Records 1990
Audio CD$9.94
$4.47 (used)
If Summer Had Its GhostsIf Summer Had Its Ghosts
Import
Summerfold UK 2005
Audio CD$9.71
$14.99 (used)
Earthworks Live: Stamping GroundEarthworks Live: Stamping Ground
Venture / Caroline 1994
Audio CD$14.99
$2.88 (used)
Feels Good to MeFeels Good to Me
Import
Winterfold UK 2005
Audio CD$9.35
$10.96 (used)
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BILL BRUFORD shows & tickets


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BILL BRUFORD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.92 | 133 ratings
Feels Good to Me
1977
4.06 | 209 ratings
One of a Kind
1979
3.45 | 69 ratings
Gradually Going Tornado
1980
3.50 | 22 ratings
If Summer Had Its Ghosts (with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez)
1997
3.87 | 4 ratings
Every Step A Dance, Every Word A Song (Bruford & Borstlap)
2005
2.00 | 1 ratings
In Two Minds (With Michael Borstlap)
2008

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

3.69 | 30 ratings
The Bruford Tapes
1979
3.87 | 12 ratings
Rock Goes to College
2007

BILL BRUFORD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.75 | 4 ratings
Bruford - Borstlap / In Concert In Holland
2005
4.26 | 10 ratings
BBC Rock Goes to College: Live 1979
2006

BILL BRUFORD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 27 ratings
Master Strokes: 1978-1985
1986
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Winterfold Collection 1978 - 1986
2009
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Summerfold Collection 1987 - 2008
2009

BILL BRUFORD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BILL BRUFORD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 One of a Kind by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.06 | 209 ratings

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One of a Kind
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by FragileKings

3 stars I love Bill Bruford's playing with Yes and I heard some great stuff with King Crimson. Furthermore, I enjoy hearing him speak on music documentaries. I read his autobiography and he cited "One of a Kind" as a favourite album, along with King Crimson's "Red" which I also like. Then in Stephen Lambe's book, "Citizens of Hope and Glory: the Story of Progressive Rock," the album is mentioned as one of 65 albums worthy of hearing. My curiosity piqued, I ordered the album earlier this year.

The album opens with a quick steady beat on what sounds like an early electronic drum or a large sheet of thick plastic and is presently joined by a jolly synthesizer rhythm that made me think, "Oh, good gravy, no! Not another Cozy Powell!"

Several years ago, I bought "Over the Top", an album by Cozy Powell that featured Don Airey, Gary Moore, and possibly a guest appearance by Jeff Beck if I recall correctly. I had high expectations but the album was almost embarrassing to play. Most of the music was written by Airey (who I think is a remarkable player) and was almost like supermarket muzak in sound with added classical and jazz references. Blame the synthesizer sound. I might have played the album through twice before finally selling it and deleting it entirely from my iTunes library.

Fortunately for Bruford and me, the music of this track does become less embarrassing and more enjoyable, though for a piece of music with a title like "Hells Bells" I would have expected something less like a pop song treated to muzak and then mixed with jazz.

The rest of the album sounds better most of the time. The main problem I have here is that jazz / rock is not something I have added to my music collection prior (except for Dixie Dregs) so I have a hard time loving the tunes as much as someone with a developed lexicon in Canterbury and other forms of jazz fusion rock. "One of Kind" has a tendency for each track to sound a little similar to the others. Of course they are all distinct. The first 30 seconds of each track will tell you that. But there's a kind of formula that insists that each track have some drama somewhere, some melody somewhere, some slower lounge jazz parts, and some flash solos. Just hit shuffle.

Bruford doesn't try to show off as he did when he was younger. Instead he chooses safe 4/4 beats much of the time and adds in fills when required. The times his playing perks up my ears is usually a well-timed and effective drum fill as the music transfers from one part to another. In his autobiography, however, he said that he was happy to write music and work it over with talented musicians and let them create the fabulous music out of his offering. I would say that he has achieved that here.

Allan Holdsworth is of course a wizard during his solos. His technique clearly must have inspired many young guitarists who would contribute to the sound of the rock guitar in hair metal bands in the 80's. There is again a kind of sameness at that crops up at times. Holdsworth will play a few melodic notes and then do a quick run of fingers over the fret board on many of the tracks. "Five G" features some fuzz tone playing that is a nice variation on the album. Basically, I'm left with the impression that Holdsworth can do amazing things with the guitar but repeats himself frequently.

Dave Stewart uses a variety of sounds from his polysynthesizers, some of them more effective and pleasing than others. "One of a Kind" part one employs a keyboard setting that sounds really dated. I can't imagine how they thought this sound was a good one. "Byown, byown" go the keyboards. "Hey, great sound. Let's use it on the album." His choice for sound setting in "Travels with Myself - And Someone Else" includes what must have been labelled as "flute" or "clarinet" but like so many early and also cheaper synthesizers these days too, it doesn't really sound like what it is supposed to sound like. All the same, Stewart makes it work here. "The Abingdon Chasp" includes some pleasant lounge jazz piano as well in parts.

Jeff Berlin deserves mention as the guy cannot be allowed to play just an ordinary bass line on any track that I noticed. His genius as a bass player really shows through even when he's just playing the bass behind the soloists. He also gets a cool bass intro on "Five G" and a frenetic solo elsewhere.

Though there are a few tracks that have moments that sound great to my ears, the composition to win it for me is "Fainting in Coils". It has a dark beginning and some terrific jazzy keyboards. Parts are light and simple, others darker and suspenseful. This track treads over a few different terrains and serves as a great summary of the album while holding enough excitement to stand out as the pick of the litter. Everyone really lays into it for the conclusion. Aside from this track, there are excellent parts to crop up throughout the album and tracks like "The Sahara of Snow" parts one and two and "Five G" are also very good examples of this band's abilities.

Though the music may sound a little repetitive at times and I am quite the novice at this point, I still think the playing is superior. I personally can't quite feel obliged to give it four stars because I find it hard to consider this as an excellent addition to just any prog collection as there are surely people like me who can't quite be so thrilled about the jazz element. On the other hand, if you love jazz fusion, jazz, or Canterbury then this might just be not only an excellent addition but an essential one. So take note that my three stars are for my taste personally and I fully recommend this album to anyone more inclined to appreciate it.

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 If Summer Had Its Ghosts (with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez) by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.50 | 22 ratings

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If Summer Had Its Ghosts (with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez)
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by admireArt

3 stars Bill Bruford's taste for "classic" Jazz, has never been a secret. He is more in feel with this kind of styling and has brought its best rhythm elements to some of the top progressive bands of this Prog world . Ralph Towner has developed his unique guitar performing skills since a while (founding member of the avant garde, Jazz/Fusion oriented band Oregon). He can actually function in any musical environment, as long as he is given the creative freedom he requires to fly his own way and yet be there for the others. In this work he also supplies all the piano work and balances both instruments in a delicious display of restraint and low key "flash". Eddie Gomez's bass performance is responsible most of the time of keeping everything into perspective and also provides most of the "classic" elements, Bruford so dearly enjoys.

Although its closeness to old time Jazz, Towner's abilities brings it near to more contemporary avant garde structures, yet the feeling in general remains timeless.

Crystal clear compositions without any kind of useless "glitter", but the amazing and disciplined performances by each member of this "Jazz/Fusion Trio".

***3.5 PA stars.

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 The Bruford Tapes by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Live, 1979
3.69 | 30 ratings

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The Bruford Tapes
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sturoc

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 progarchives reviewers need to be more informed before reviewing recordings and artists here. I wonder where they get their info from ???. Well reviewers, do you research and see that Allan Holdsworth is NOT the 'unknown John Clark' ..AH did not want to get into touring after this recording. So a replacement was found in the very capable hands of John Clark who btw is still active and has been with Cliff Richards band for years. In addition, the group DID play full versions of those tracks and nothing was edited during the live broadcast. That it was someone else's decision to not include them in the release. Could be possibly due to time constraint on the vinyl pressing and or who knows why with the CD.

I recorded the show live over the air on a Sony reel to reel deck It was as high quality a deck as you could get at the time. Actually sounds tons better than the official release maybe due to the compression of radio broadcast and lack there of on the 2 trk master recording which was just a stereo feed from the soundboard.

A brilliant snapshot in time Even if it does remind Bill Bruford of a hot and sweaty summer of touring, playing two shows a day with back to back dates.

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 BBC Rock Goes to College: Live 1979 by BRUFORD, BILL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.26 | 10 ratings

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BBC Rock Goes to College: Live 1979
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Filmed (or videotaped?) in March 1979 for a BBC TV Programme, this is a very good concert video from Bruford`s band, still with Allan Holdsworth on guitar (who left the band some months later), and with the same core of musicians from the first and second albums by Bruford ("Feels Good To Me" and "One of a Kind"). The four musicians (Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Berlin and Dave Stewart) can be seen showing their virtuosity in this concert video, playing songs from both albums. It is very clear that the video was taken from a TV broadcast because the first song ("Sample and Hold") was not included in its entirety and the video starts with the credits appearing at the screen while the band plays the first song. Some of the songs are not played in the same way as they were originally recorded for the albums, sometimes showing some improvisation, sometimes being played faster and heavier. The only thing that I don`t like very much is the presence of Annette Peacock on vocals on the same songs that she recorded with the band for their first album. Well, the explanation I give about her is that I don`t like very much this kind of "avant-garde" artists, but Bill Bruford obviously liked her voice. At least, in their first album Peacock sang better, but in this concert video she didn`t sing very well for my taste. Anyway, the other musicians really played very well. So, forget about Peacock`s presence and you will enjoy a very good concert video.

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 Feels Good to Me by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.92 | 133 ratings

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Feels Good to Me
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars One of the most talented and technically skilled drummers in the world of prog, 1949-born English drummer Bill Bruford had a long and prolific career during the 70's with Yes and King Crimson, before joining Genesis to replace Phil Collins behind the drum kit, when he was the lead vocalist of the band in the 76' tour.In 1977 he found his own project Bruford, when he joined forces with famous keyboardist Dave Stewart, guitar virtuoso Alan Holdsworth and jazz bassist Jeff Berlin.The first Bruford album ''Feels Good to Me'', originally released in 1977 on EG Records, featured also Annette Peacock on vocals, Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn and John Goodsall on rhythm guitar.

With ''Feels Good to Me'' Bruford prooved to be not only a great drummer but an excellent composer as well, as he wrote or co-wrote all of the album's tracks.The style is a mix of fiery NATIONAL HEALTH-like Canterbury Prog and complex Jazz/Fusion with Holdsworth shining on the guitars and Stewart performing another excellent show with his work Minimoog and Polymoog synths.There is a certain charm hidden in the compositions, which turn from rhythmic Fusion to complicated Progressive Rock in a blink of an eye, highlighted by the incredible solos of Holdsworth, a man who set up an entire guitar school around his style.Stewart's keyboards are fantastic, often having this NATIONAL HEALTH lovely and andventurous vibes or simply bursting a breezy jazzy atmosphere.Little to be said about Bruford's playing, his performance is just so confident and infallible.All tracks contain well- measured material of more atmospheric moments blended with powerful interplays and solos, while Peacock's ethereal female vocals are another reason why the album is so nicely balanced.

Fantastic first release by Bruford and co., this is a great example of complex still fairly enjoyable jazzy Progressive Rock with strong Canterbury leanings.Not to be missed by all fans of trully well-crafted proggy adventures.

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 Feels Good to Me by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.92 | 133 ratings

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Feels Good to Me
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Exposure

2 stars The 'problem' with Bill Bruford is that his playing is too rock for jazz purists, whilst at the same time too jazzy for (progressive) rock fans. This dichotomy is very apparent on Feels Good to Me.

Whilst some tracks are very much in the jazz rock/fusion vein, similar to the later Soft Machine and Brand X, others are more rock orientated. The vocals by Annette Peacock are more akin to cocktail lounge jazz , a much smoother sound than will would expect of a band featuring Bill Bruford.

Another problem for me is the meandering guitar style of Alan Holdsworth. He can veer from an almost heavy metal shredding to jazz stylings, often in the space of the same track! I find his playing difficult to listen to and this album certainly suffers as a result.

Despite some good tracks, on balance, I feel this is a 2 star album.

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 In Two Minds (With Michael Borstlap) by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.00 | 1 ratings

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In Two Minds (With Michael Borstlap)
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Is it just me, or were Bruford and Borstlap treading water when they recorded this? Compared to their first album together, a miracle of instant composition, IN TWO MINDS is lacking in excitement. The general principle is the same as before: a drummer and a pianist/keyboardist take the stage without having the faintest idea what they are going to play. All their music evolves spontaneously. But the problem is that little actually EVOLVES. I'll admit it, I'm a dedicated Bruford fan, I admire most of his jazzy material (including virtually all the Earthworks stuff), not to mention the rock bands BB once belonged to, and for me there's no more enjoyable drummer in popular music... It pains me to admit it, but on IN TWO MINDS his music (and Borstlap's) comes dangerously close to "aimless noodling". Especially during the first half of the album, where virtually everything sounds like a bridge between two PROPER tracks, on some half-forgotten live album... (With the exception of "From the Source, We Tumble Headlong: a pastiche of Joseph Zawinul at his most frenetic.) In the second half (from "Duplicity" onwards) there's some improvement. Tension increases and there are moments of magical interplay between pianist and percussionist. Unfortunately, any excitement dies out all too soon, and there's nothing here that equals Earthworks or King Crimson at their best. Of course Bruford completists can't afford to be without this. There will never be another drummer like Bill, so in a sense every beat he lay down was sacred. (Except, perhaps, those horrible electronic drum rolls with which he ruined "Close to the Edge" on that ABHW live album...)

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 One of a Kind by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.06 | 209 ratings

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One of a Kind
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Drifting Toward Muzak

I should love this album. The all-star lineup includes my favorite prog key player, one of my favorite fusion guitarists, and a monster rhythm section. Alas, the date (1979) dominates this record's sound and we are left with a toothless, dated record that shows some hints at what could have been but ultimately disappoints.

In 1979, the aesthetic of music was in full transition mode. Synthesizers were changing to a computer age goofiness, production techniques were getting glossier, reverbs were getting huge. Jazz fusion in general was getting softer, more brainy, and less dangerous. ONE OF A KIND is an enormous victim of these trends. The primary victim is Dave Stewart, whose monster contributions in the Canterbury scene had a distincitve set of tones including a distorted organ sound that was nasty and organic. Here, his tones are so processed and white washed that you can barely tell it's him. Similarly, the drum and bass are occasionally effected into complete cheese. Sadly, this was a trend. Allan Holdsworth's later work is very muzaked and his mind-boggling heir apparent Shawn Lane would play almost exclusively in this defanged sound. Some of jazz's best players like Pat Metheny and Bela Fleck / Victor Wooten have records that are almost unlistenable unless you tolerate 80's elevators.

There is indeed some great playing on this record. The late tracks actually have some menace here and there. There are some nice riffs, and the musicianship is at a very high level. Holdsworth is very comfortable in his element here, maybe too much so. Bruford is solidly slippery as always. Berlin is a madman. Stewarts playing is actually quite nice, when you listen for the note choices and block out the tone.

But the fact is that tone is the first thing that leaves an impression on the listener. The timbre of a singer's voice, the sing of a guitar note. The snap of a snare. And of course the sound of a keyboard. Here it's just unpleasant. As I listen to Stewart's solo on "Travels With Myself..." with it's faux steel drum, I yearn for the nasty Khan organ.

As I'm forcing myself to listen to the album for this review, the playing does come through. But in general, I never make it through the album. The fact is that all of these players have so many examples of great playing elsewhere, in more palatable settings.

Huge disappointment.

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 Feels Good to Me by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.92 | 133 ratings

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Feels Good to Me
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was Bill Bruford's first solo album released in 1977. The core of the band features Jeff Berlin on bass, Allan Holdsworth on guitar, Dave Stewart on keyboards, Annette Peacock on vocals and Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn. Neil Murray adds some extra bass and John Goodsall adds guitar to one track. I like the liner notes which were written in 1977. Here's a sample. ""Someone suggested I should get Dave Holland to play on the record", said Bill Bruford referring to the expatriate British bassist who, plucked from obscurity by Miles Davis a decade ago, is now one of the most respected forces in contemporary improvised music.The look on Bruford's face bespoke the very natural awe in which he holds Holland's musicianship and creativity". Well as most will know, Jeff Berlin ain't bad either (haha). In fact this is simply a killer lineup. After KING CRIMSON broke up Bruford played in many bands, mostly live appearances including GONG, Roy Harper, NATIONAL HEALTH and GENESIS. It's interesting that late in 1976 he got together with Rick Wakeman and John Wetton to record an album but it was canned due to the politics of the music business. In rehearsal though this trio came up with two of the songs that are featured on this debut in "Beelzebub" and "Back To The Beginning". I have to mention Annette Peacock. The lady can sing and I like the description of her voice in the liner notes. "Her voice is unsettling : it whispers, croons, cajoles, and threatens...".

"Beelzebub" is a top three for me. The drums are intricate as the sound builds just before a minute. The guitar comes in a minute later as it settles some.Excellent track. "Back To The Beginning" is another top three and it makes me wonder how good that Bruford / Wakeman / Wetton band would have been. It's mellow with flugelhorn to open then it kicks in hard before a minute with guitar. Female vocals join in.This is great ! It settles with male spoken words then the guitar solos as the bass and drums continue. It's building before 5 minutes. Nice. She's back singing a minute later. "Seems Like A Lifetime Ago (Pt. 1)" is a relaxed tune with vocals and flugelhorn.

"Seems Like A Lifetime Ago (Pt.2)" has more bite to it than part one and some good guitar too. Great sound before 3 minutes then it settles late. "Sample And Hold" is my other top three. A good beat to start as other sounds join in. An amazing instrumental. "Feels Good To Be Me" is a bright uptempo instrumental. It's more intense after 2 minutes with the guitar standing but it's too brief. "Either End Of August" is fairly laid back with flugelhorn arriving around 1 1/2 minutes. "If You Can't Stand The Heat..." is an intricate instrumental with the guitar coming in just before a minute. "Springtime In Siberia" is mellow with flugelhorn and piano. "Adios A La Pasada (Goodbye To The Past)" is a good closing number. It gets better as it plays out too. Female vocals in this one as well.

Feels like 4 stars to me.

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 Gradually Going Tornado by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.45 | 69 ratings

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Gradually Going Tornado
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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