Music Reviews
Bill Bruford

Bill Bruford

An Introduction to Bill Bruford’s Winterfold Records


When Progressive Rock was the Big New Thing, I never saw it as a manifestation of jazz, but an evolution of Elvis and The Rolling Stones. Yet, in retrospect, Yes and King Crimson and even Frank Zappa were taking rock vocabularies and adapting them to jazz manifesto – complex chord progressions, rapidly changing meters, and minor chords that might not even have proper names filled the FM airwaves, and as long as the drugs flowed, it all made perfect sense. Over the years, Bill Bruford made this his living, and he changed not only Rock ‘n’ Roll but Jazz as well. It may be as we go forward he has a long-term effect on symphonic performance as well.

In Bruford’s long career, he’s worked on 60 or so albums, and in many cases has control over his own compositions. He’s formed a pair of labels to re-release this material for his fans. Winterfold looks towards his pre-1987 works, while Summerfold covers his newer work. This seven-song disc has a nice sampling of that early collection, along with short interview segments for each track. The music comes from One of A Kind, Feels Good To Me, Gradually Going Tornado, Flags, and the hard-to-find Music For Piano and Drums. Each cut has its merits; each track requires concentration, repeated listening, and thought to fully appreciate.

Bruford’s interviews are gems; he’s bright, enthusiastic, and willing to talk about the fun details of his multiple bands’ histories. The interviewer is un-named, but he draws Bruford out and pursues ideas they both find interesting. There are no great revelations here, just a sense of eavesdropping on great musicians engaged in a bit of friendly self-analysis. This is great jazz, and you might even skip the sampler and go right for the full releases. If the vinyl is unavailable, there are always digital downloads.

Bill Bruford:

Recently on Ink 19...