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Bill Bruford's Earthworks - Earthworks CD (album) cover


Bill Bruford's Earthworks


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.15 | 57 ratings

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4 stars First there were four albums of guitar-led fusion, then a pair of piano & drums works with Patrick Moraz, and now the third phase of BRUFORD's solo career begins: avant jazz with horns. "Bill Bruford Eartworks" isn't a complete departure from his past work -- winning melodies and exotic percussion still play a pivotal role in the music -- but the presence of two horn-playing songwriters (Iain Ballamy and Django Bates) opens the door to many new musical avenues. BRUFORD still pleases both halves of his musical mind, psuedo-intellectual and iconoclastic one moment (as in the opening "Thud", which recalls an earlier EG act, The Lounge Lizards), sentimental and remarkably accessible the next ("Making A Song And Dance"). Ballamy and Bates are real finds, the latter a double threat to play the horn (e.g., "Up North") and piano ("Pressure"), leaving the lovely solos to the former's small array of saxophones. In such surroundings, acoustic bassist Mick Hutton becomes an afterthought, and as for BRUFORD -- well, I'm not sure what he's doing here some of the time. His handiwork is stamped all over tracks like "My Heart Declares A Holiday" and "Bridge of Inhibition", but the virtuoso drummer is a virtual no-show for "It Needn't End In Tears" and "Up North".

Perhaps BRUFORD was adopting the role of the jazz impresario, letting the young turks slug it out for musical turf while he recedes into the background, his percussion more the wise minister than willful dictator. While more audible participation from Mr. B would have only endeared this more to his fans, the fact remains that "Bill Bruford's Earthworks" is a pleasant, often exciting venture regardless of who's driving the horses. Even if his greatest contribution is bringing good music to light, it's something to be thankful for.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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