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A Great Introduction to Bill Bruford's Jazz-Fusion Era!!
Louie Bourland | Garden Grove CA | 01/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As many already know, Bill Bruford is one of Britain's finest drummers having played with prog-rock giants such as Yes, King Crimson and Genesis (as a tour member) as well as being a session musician for several well-known rock and jazz musicians. Between being a band member, Bill also has quite an extensive solo catalog with his early fusion band known as Bruford as well as his current straight-forward jazz combo Earthworks (which actually began as an electric outfit before being reformed as an acoustic quartet in the '90s).
The "Master Strokes" compilation covers the best from Bill's fusion era (the Bruford band) as well as including three tracks from his two collaborations with former Yes/Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz. The Bruford material is dynamic jazz-rock in the style of pioneering bands such as Weather Report, Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Bruford's sidemen of bassist Jeff Berlin, keyboardist Dave Stewart (not the same guy from Eurythmics) and guitarist extraordinaire Allan Holdsworth (who is replaced by John Clark on two tracks) proved to be a winning combination as each track included here is as strong and powerful as any of the above mentioned bands. Bill's rhythmic precision and ability to weave through many odd time signatures in a single piece remains unprecidented.
The three Moraz/Bruford pieces are entirely acoustic and loosely improvisational. The cover of Max Roach's "The Drum Also Waltzes" is especially superb as it showcases Bill's drumming technique without the aid of other instruments.
This CD is truly a collection of "Master Strokes" and is a great introduction to Bill Bruford's high-powered jazz-fusion period. There is not a single weak track in the bunch. His later Earthworks material is also worth listening to especially his recent live works "Footloose and Fancy Free" and "Random Acts of Happiness".
Definitely essential for fans of Jazz-Fusion as well as Progressive rock.
Sidenote: Although "One Of A Kind - Part One and Two" are listed as two separate tracks on the CD cover, they are actually indexed as one track on the CD. This creates the illusion that one track is missing on the disc when in fact it's not. This also means that the track numbers are out of order on the CD cover. After "One of a Kind", track 4 should be 3, track 5 should be 4 etc. The tracks are one number off on the CD cover."
N. Lang | K-town (Kiel), WI | 08/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am salivating over this CD, which I bought yesterday. I have always been a fan of Bruford, ever since watching his instructional video, Bill Bruford and the Beat. This just reinforces, and in fact enhances why he is just that amazing. The technical facility, his dexterity, and his intense coordination are simply mind-boggling! Allan Holdsworth and Jeff Berlin are equally incredible on this compilation. The band is tight through all of the crazy time changes, dynamic contrast, and everything in between. Bruford has inspired legions of drummers, and this album is just the tip of the iceberg. Buy it, and experience."