While the music made by Bill Bruford's earlier Earthworks band was consistently more interesting, his current lineup continues to make great strides given its more traditional stance (post-bop acoustic piano/saxophone quartet verses ultra-modern Euro-jazz fusion). On the live Footloose and Fancy Free, the group exceeds its own studio performances with room to spare. The lovely ballad "Come to Dust" is a fine showcase for pianist Steve Hamilton, and Bruford's punchy drumming moves a complex "Triplicity." Even non-Earthworks tunes from Bruford's late-'90s collaborations with Tony Levin ("Original Sin") and Ralph Towner ("If Summer Had Its Ghosts") get inspiring interpretations as well, thanks to the well-seasoned playing of both tenor/alto saxophonist Patrick Calahar and Hamilton.
File under "Yes." When this version of the band couldn't obtain rights to the name, they put their album out under their combined names, but it's still Yes by any other name. Jon Anderson's tenor wails through spacy lyrics, Rick Wakeman constructs cathedrals of synthesized sound, Steve Howe rips high-pitched guitar leads, and Bill Bruford makes his drums sound like timpani…
This recording chronicles the live performances of Bruford Levin Upper Extremities from 1998. The disc showcases the band's unique blend of jazzy modes with Crimson-esque textures and, occasionally, just plain weirdness. Many of the tracks become looser jams in the live performance. For those who saw this tour, the disc will be a great memento. For those who didn't, it will serve as a shining example of what they missed, and encouragement to be more careful not to pass up subsequent tours. The band is Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, Chris Botti, and David Torn.
Bill Bruford and Tony Levin, two very well known prog musicians, formed BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES for a while, which was a fusion band. They put out two albums, a self-titled and a live album called "Blue Nights." David Torn and Chris Botti were the other two members of the band.
Bill Bruford's career is like his drumming sound inimitable. Known for his ringing metal snare drum, crisp cymbal work, and knack for complex time signatures, a young Bruford came to prominence in the late '60s with Yes. The drummer completed his British art rock trilogy by briefly joining Genesis in the 1970s and spending a quarter-century with King Crimson through the late '90s. In between King Crimson dates, Bruford led a dazzling self-titled jazz fusion solo band from 1978 to 1980.
The follow-up to Music for Piano and Drums is more along the lines of what fans might have expected the first time around. Flags features Moraz's augmenting his piano work with his Kurzweil synthesizer; a fuller production with overdubbing, and more structure. Still, to contrast purely anthemic tracks like the opening "Temples of Joy," Bruford and Moraz offer moments of pure improvisations, including the driving "Split Seconds" and "Infra Dig," which is based around a challenging theme but ultimately evolves into a more free-flowing exploration, with Bruford's light cymbal work and strategically placed shots providing interesting counterpoint to Moraz's more flowing lines. Again the chemistry between the two is clearly evident.
Drummer Bill Bruford and Dutch pianist and keyboardist Michiel Borstlap have performed together as duos on a very occasional basis during the past few years. The music on In Two Minds features the two old friends at four live concerts from 2006-2007 that were performed in England and Norway. All of the crowd noise and applause has been edited out, so it sounds like a studio set. However very little editing and no overdubbing or mixing took place, so this is an accurate reproduction of the live performances. Borstlap and Bruford perform 11 free improvisations plus Miles Davis' "All Blues." While the playing is spontaneous, it is often melodic with a logical development and plenty of variety. A few of the selections have such strong structures that they almost sound like a standard. Some of the other pieces mostly set moods, emphasize color or have one basic idea or plot. The results are consistently intriguing and rewarding.