Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bill Bruford - 1979 "One Of A Kind"

Bruford were a band that former Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford formed and led in the late 1970s.
Bill Bruford had assembled a band for his debut solo album, Feels Good to Me, with Dave Stewart (keyboards), Jeff Berlin (bass), Allan Holdsworth (guitar) and Bruford (drums). That album also had Annette Peacock on vocals, and Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn. A second album was then released under the band name Bruford and was mostly instrumental, and on the live album The Bruford Tapes (a live show originally broadcast for radio station WLIR) and associated tour, guitarist The 'Unknown' John Clark replaced Holdsworth. Bass player Berlin sang the vocals on Gradually Going Tornado.

One of a Kind is an album by the British band Bruford. It was released in 1979 and is a collection of progressive melodies with much jazz exploration, in style that can be defined within the limits of jazz fusion. It is also considered a classic in instrumental rock. The group led by drummer Bill Bruford features guitarist Allan Holdsworth, bassist Jeff Berlin and keyboardist Dave Stewart. Some of the material ("Forever Until Sunday", which features an (originally) uncredited Eddie Jobson on violin, and "The Sahara Of Snow") was originally performed live by U.K. on its 1978 tour, but taken for use on this album when Holdsworth and Bruford exited that band. Stewart's "Hell's Bells" used a fragment penned by his former National Health colleague Alan Gowen (the 3-chord pattern underlying the guitar solo).

Bill Bruford ended his brief affair with U.K. and condensed his original outfit to a quartet, releasing a second album of sinewy, celebratory jazz/rock fusion, One of a Kind. Good-humored twists and turns abound in the music, punctuated by Bruford's steadying if slightly subversive rhythms, Allan Holdsworth's flashes of fire, Jeff Berlin's insistent bass, and Dave Stewart's remarkably colorful keyboards. At the heart of many of these songs is an uplifting melody, a trait shared with fusion artists like Weather Report and Jean-Luc Ponty, though Bruford's outfit favors a faster pace than the former and pursues more musical avenues in a single song than the latter. When he takes to tuned percussion, Bruford can even sound like Frank Zappa (both bands have a funky side to them). Standout cuts this time include "Hell's Bells," "Fainting in Coils" (which, in an indirect link to his previous employers, would have felt at home on Robert Fripp's Exposure), "Five G," and "The Sahara of Snow." The remaining tracks are a little less muscular, and the band's strength would seem to lie in fusion propelled by the complex rhythmic patterns of Bruford and Berlin (i.e., when the band leans closer to the rock side of the fusion family). Those who enjoy their fusion with a healthy dose of rock will find One of a Kind a fair match for anything from Return to Forever or Brand X. Note that many of these songs also appear in live versions on the beat-the-boots release The Bruford Tapes

Bill Bruford ended his brief affair with U.K. and condensed his original outfit to a quartet, releasing a second album of sinewy, celebratory jazz/rock fusion, One of a Kind. Good-humored twists and turns abound in the music, punctuated by Bruford’s steadying if slightly subversive rhythms, Allan Holdsworth’s flashes of fire, Jeff Berlin’s insistent bass, and Dave Stewart’s remarkably colorful keyboards. At the heart of many of these songs is an uplifting melody, a trait shared with fusion artists like Weather Report and Jean-Luc Ponty, though Bruford’s outfit favors a faster pace than the former and pursues more musical avenues in a single song than the latter. When he takes to tuned percussion, Bruford can even sound like Frank Zappa (both bands have a funky side to them).

Track listing

    "Hell's Bells" (Alan Gowen, Dave Stewart) 3:32
    "One of a Kind, Pt. 1" (Bill Bruford) 2:20
    "One of a Kind, Pt. 2" (Bruford, Stewart) 4:00
    "Travels with Myself — And Someone Else" (Bruford) 6:10
    "Fainting in Coils" (Bruford) 6:33
    "Five G" (Jeff Berlin, Bruford, Stewart) 4:41
    "The Abingdon Chasp" (Allan Holdsworth) 4:50
    "Forever until Sunday" (Bruford) 5:46
    "The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 1" (Bruford) 5:18
    "The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 2" (Bruford, Eddie Jobson) 3:23

Personnel

    Bill Bruford – percussion, drums, speaking the role of the Mock Turtle on "Fainting In Coils"
    Allan Holdsworth – electric guitar
    Dave Stewart – keyboards, synthesizers
    Jeff Berlin – bass
with
    Eddie Jobson – violin on "Forever Until Sunday"
    Anthea Norman Taylor (currently Mrs. Brian Eno) - speaking the role of Alice on "Fainting In Coils"
    Sam Alder (of E.G. Records) - voice of the narrator on "Fainting In Coils"

1 comment:

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