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Bill Bruford’s Earthworks: Heavenly Bodies-Expanded Edition (2CD)

It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since the glory days of Yes. Way back in 1969 Bruford joined the band followed by a stint in King Crimson and in the late ‘70s formed the band UK. In 1986 Bruford formed Earthworks along with Django Bates (keyboards, E flat peek horn), Iain Ballamy (saxophones), Tim Harries (acoustic and Electric bass) and Mick Hutton (acoustic bass). This is the lineup on the first disc as this incantation of the band existed from 1986 to 1993. All of these tracks can be found on the massive twenty CD Earthworks Complete box set. The first track “Stromboli Kicks” features a tasty electronic percussion intro from Bruford, creative saxophone and a general moodiness that I found to be quite enticing. On “Making A Song And Dance” Bruford’s worldly percussion and electronic sounds along with some unearthly saxophone does well to create a beautifully flowing atmosphere. Then the music explodes, propelled by Bruford and Hutton. Bruford’s wonderful sense of melody continues on “Up North” which also includes some of the tastiest sax and horn work on the disc. “Candles Still Flicker In Romania’s Dark” is a wonderfully contemplative piece of mellow modern jazz while the band get their groove on in “My Heart Declares A Holiday”, just an excellent slice of British jazz.

After the initial Earthworks disbanded, Bruford returned to King Crimson for a couple years but still managed to work within the jazz arena. He left Crimson in 1997 and that same year he reformed the Earthworks band, this time taking an acoustic approach rather than the electronics the band had used a few years before. This new sound also meant new players in the form of Patrick Clahar (saxophones), Steve Hamilton (piano), Mark Hodgson (acoustic bass) and of course Bruford on acoustic drums. First off is “No Truce With The Furies” and its urgent rhythms and tasty sax and piano solos. This band plays together exceptionally well and can also show restraint like in the quieter ballad “Dewy-Eyed Then Dancing”. With “A Part And Yet Apart” Bruford’s solid playing provides the vehicle for some outstanding sax and bass solos. The nuanced tempo shifts demonstrate the supreme talent this band possesses. After the melodic yet complex “Revel Without A Pause” (love the piano and Bruford’s incredible drumming) and the Eastern tinged “The Sound Of Surprise”, both taken from The Sound Of Surprise album, the tracks are performed live as that was the last studio album from the band. In a live setting this band was just as impressive.

You may have noticed the lack of guitar in the instrument list. While I love guitar in all forms of music I really didn’t miss it at all while listening to this outstanding two disc set. I can’t see any fan of modern, post-bop jazz not appreciating this music at the very least. I for one am very impressed with both CDs, thus earning an outstanding 4.5 stars.

Track Listing:
CD 1
1. Stromboli Kicks (5:32)
2. Making A Song And Dance (5:51)
3. Up North (5:24)
4. Candles Still Flicker In Romania’s Dark (4:34)
5. Pigalle (7:20)
6. My Heart Declares A Holiday (4:37)
7. Temple Of The Winds (5:01)
8. Nerve (5:50)
9. Gentle Persuasion (4:21)
10. It Needn’t End In Tears (5:08)
11. Libreville (6:13)
12. Dancing On Frith Street (4:18)
13. Bridge Of Inhibition (4:15)

CD 2
1. No Truce With The Furies (4:50)
2. Dewey-Eyed Then Dancing (5:33)
3. A Part And Yet Apart (5:30)
4. Revel Without A Pause (7:33)
5. The Sound Of Surprise (3:27)
6. White Knuckle Wedding (7:52)
7. Youth (7:01)
8. Rosa Ballerina (5:11)
9. Thud (5:36)
10. Blues For Little Joe (8:16)

Added: April 26th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 350
Language: english

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