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Bill Bruford - Bruford: The Bruford Tapes CD (album) cover

BRUFORD: THE BRUFORD TAPES

Bill Bruford

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 55 ratings

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

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

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

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

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

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

patrickq | 4/5 |

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