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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities - Bruford Levin Upper Extremities CD (album) cover


Bruford Levin Upper Extremities


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.98 | 66 ratings

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Man With Hat
4 stars Bill Bruford and Tony Levin, two geniuses at their resepective instruments. Bruford Levin Upper Extrmities (or BLUE for short) conjurs up thoughts of an avant-garde, grooved based, King Crimson...with trumpet (which gives some songs the feel of a slick jazz club on the corner of a rundown little town). An odd description to be sure, but saying any less wouldn't give justice to the sound this group is able to achive. While not every song on this album fits up to that description to a T, the ones that do are simply amazing. Other then Bruford and Levin, are two great musicians, Chris Botti (trumpet) and David Torn (guitars, loops). I really dig the sound Torn gets out of his guitars (which is one of the more convincing arguments that BLUE sound like an avant-garde King Crimson. Mostly i think of KC's Industry where Belew is using all sorts of things to produce unusal sounds). He really adds a certain dimension to this album. Also, he provides some memorable licks as well. The trupmet inclusion in BLUE is one that always surprised me, but it comes off really well. It is always played elegantly, and never sounds out of place, which is something i would intially think. At time there is a jazz touch to his playing, which takes the compositions to that step up. All four play together excellently, and compliment each other very well.

The album starts off with Cerulean Blue, a strange and excellent piece. Levin's bassline is perciese, everpresent, and really drives the song forward. Bruford's playing is also top notch. Right off the bat you can tell a few things: 1) The avant nature of the band, 2) The power and percision of the band members, and 3) What an awesome album this will be. Original Sin is the next 'real' song. Again a wonderful piece with some of the best drumming i've heard from Bruford. Also the guitar is something to be noticed with this song as well. Etude Revisied is a more upbeat piece, that starts off with Bruford explaining how the opening rythyms are to be played. Some fantastic percussion and bass playing start the song off, and continue all the way through. This is definitly one of my favorite BLUE songs. Next up is the spooky A Palace Of Pearls (On A Blade Of Grass). This atmospheric number really gives me the feeling of wandering in a dark building and not knowing what is around the next corner. Bruford work gives the song that extra punch when combined with the ambiance of Levin's and Torn's. The next metionable song is Fin De Siecle. Starting with some fantastic and haughting guitar (which is soon joined by trumpet), the song never loses track. From the opening note, the the repeats, to the finale every note is set perfectly. The final song i want to mention is Torn DrumBass. Nothing spectualar but again, gives the listener a eerie feeling (something which is done quite often and splendidly throughout). All the other songs are good just not as standoutish as the ones i've mentioned.

All in all, this is surely an underrated album. My only complaint is the album doesn't really hold up from start to finish. It starts off very strong, but loses some of that luster by albums end. Not to say that the songs at the end are bad, just some of them dont have that extra kick in the face feeling. Also, i wish it was made more available, but thats certainly not a complaint against the album itself. A must for fans of Bruford and/or Levin and a good idea for people who like grooved based avant music, or just looking for something a little different. 3.8 stars. Recommended.

Man With Hat | 4/5 |


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