Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bruford Levin - 2000 "B.L.U.E. Nights"

B.L.U.E. Nights is an album by Bruford Levin Upper Extremities, recorded live in Japan and the USA during 1998 and released in 2000.

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. Levin is certainly one of the greatest living electric bass players, and the disc shows that fact off in fine fashion. Bill Bruford's percussion work comes across as both very creative and quite impeccable. Trumpeter Chris Botti calls to mind Miles Davis at times, while carving out his own particular style. The last link, David Torn, has a style that is nearly indefinable, combining strange guitar textures with loop work for an art form that is almost peerless. And the whole of this group, despite each member's separate abilities, is so much more than the sum of the parts. 

On this record, these guys find new ways to expand the consciousness of the listener. The combination of the poly-metric blending of time signitures between the bass/stick and drums, the weird and sometimes eerie Tornian soundscapes, and the lonely Miles inspired trumpet takes fusion somewhere I've never heard it go. While the studio record they did was interesting, this record is visceral and alive and at times totally breathtaking. I want to be in this band.

This is a 2 CD set taken from live club shows in 1998. The sound is very good and there is very little audience noise. It sounds like the audiences were very small, like the concerts were done in half filled clubs. The first disc is 48 minutes and the second disc is 58 minutes with the addition of a bonus track from the original release. The packaging is fairly cheap looking.

This is jazz fusion. Some of it is discordant, especially the opening track. Mostly the music is lively, entertaining but very rough and hard. It is along the lines of what King Crimson was doing at the time, only more accessible. With Chris Botti playing on trumpet, much of the music sounds like a harder version of Miles Davis.

This band came together right after King Crimson was in it's "Projecks" and "Thrak" stages. Both Bill Bruford and Tony Levin were in King Crimson at the time. King Crimson was a sextet at the time and doing all kinds of experimentation with different combinations of the members of the band. They put out a number of CD's where any "C" in the title was replaced with a "K". The music was hard and metallic. Much of it was pure noise with members of the group just going off in any direction. Some of it was very interesting.

I think that Bruford and Levin take all that experimentation with King Crimson and evolve it into something much better. David Torn on guitar sounds like Robert Fripp under control. And the trumpet really adds a new dimension to the music.

Levin is always a very interesting artist. Another album to check out is his Double Espresso, which is more traditional fusion and new wave jazz. I think his best album (besides the 1980's King Crimson material) is Levin, Bozzio, Stevens Blacklight Syndrome. That is a CD to search out and cherish.

So to speak, it's a double live version of B.L.U.E. Including some other & a bonus track, of course. As for me, I'm fond of studio version more rather than this live one. But it's great that some tracks from studio are extended for live play. & some tracks are improvs or jams. Higly recommended for guys & girls who like each or at least one of Bill Bruford,Tony Levin and David Torn. These three good performers gathered once before at Torn's excellent work "Cloud about mercury". Though I haven't experienced any other Chris Botti, he is good especially at "Original Sin". By the way, Torn doesn't play impressively in this project to me. 

Tracks Listing

Disc One:
1. Piercing Glances (7:54)
2. Etude Revisited (5:24)
3. A Palace Of Pearls (5:58)
4. Original Sin (8:14)
5. Dentures Of The Gods (6:25)
6. Deeper Blue (6:32)
7. Cobalt Canyons (7:30)

Disc Two:
1. Fin De Siècle (5:46)
2. Picnic On Vesuvius (9:28)
3. Cerulean Sea (7:03)
4. Bent Taqasim
5. Torn Drumbass (5:40)
6. Cracking The Midnight Glass (6:53)
7. Presidents Day (6:47)
8. 3 Minutes Of Pure Entertainment (10:54)
9. Outer Blue (6:06)

Total Time: 103:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / drums, percussion
- Tony Levin / basses, stick
- David Torn / guitars, loops, oud
- Chris Botti / trumpet


  1. http://www7.zippyshare.com/v/BlbwVFPJ/file.html

  2. great .. thank you
    jian mbois tenan

  3. excellent album
    Tony Levin is a genius