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Bill Bruford - Bruford: One Of A Kind CD (album) cover


Bill Bruford


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.11 | 332 ratings

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4 stars A much-admired yet occasionally criticized slice of progressive jazz-fusion, the second album from Bill Bruford's group picks up pretty much where debut predecessor 'Feels Good To Me' left off. Featuring crisp production values, a synthesizer-heavy sound and some dazzling technical play, 'One Of A Kind', despite its general excellence, seems to be a true marmite album. The reason? The era of its creation. Issued in the post-punk days 1979, 'One Of A Kind' came pretty late-in-the-day for a jazz fusion album, and at a time when many progressive-minded groups were going through a period of rapid change. Stylistically at least, this didn't seem to affect Bruford, yet the technology and production techniques of 1979 had moved on considerably since the days of 'Third' and 'Elastic Rock' and as a result there is many an old-school fusion fan who simply cannot accept the shiny, synthesized sheen or gated drums found throughout the album. True, 'One Of A Kind' maybe lacks the deeply cosmic ambience of the genre's very best efforts, but you really shouldn't let that put you off. Once again joined by ex-Soft Machine guitarist Allan Holdsworth, bassist Jeff Berlin and former Caravan and National Health keyboardist Dave Stewart, Bill Bruford's commitment to producing truly progressive fusion isn't in question, and his band demonstrate their individual and collective skills with a quite superb collection of tunes. Yes, it sounds a bit 1980's, but so what. The actual melodies, breaks and rhythms belong in the same class as the likes of Nucleus, Soft Machine and Return To Forever, and, unlike early-eighties supergroup Asia, which featured four prog-rock legends and authentic Roger Dean artwork yet actually produced nothing more than lightweight pop-rock, this is no ersatz legend meet designed to drum up profile and cash. It's the real thing. Highlights abound, yet for the purists both the snazzy opening rhymes of 'Hell's Bells' and Bruford's own two-part piece 'The Sahara Of Snow' showcase the quartet at their very best. Indeed, there is a rarely a duff moment to be found, and even when the group lean deeply into rockier realms they maintain a deep sense of jazzy menace, as the six-minute 'Fainting In Coils' demonstrates. If it's Mingus, Coltrane and Baker you dig then maybe 'One Of A Kind' isn't for you. However, those with a penchant for the cosmic strains of Chick Corea or Miles Davis circa his electric period could be in for a treat. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2015
stefro | 4/5 |


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