Vinyl LP pressing of this 1980 album from the drumming legend and his band. Gradually Going Tornado features a shift in the sound of Bruford with the addition of guitarist John Clark in for the departed Allan Holdsworth. V... more »ocal duties on this album are also handled by bassist Jeff Berlin, leading the band in a different but exciting direction. Nine tracks. Bruford. 2009.« less
Vinyl LP pressing of this 1980 album from the drumming legend and his band. Gradually Going Tornado features a shift in the sound of Bruford with the addition of guitarist John Clark in for the departed Allan Holdsworth. Vocal duties on this album are also handled by bassist Jeff Berlin, leading the band in a different but exciting direction. Nine tracks. Bruford. 2009.
"Although this album hasn't enjoyed the classic status of its predecessors (Feels Good To Me and One OF A Kind), but hell, this album is a product of vision.First of all, Jeff Berlin's vocals and compositions are poisonous,adding a sarcastic mood to the overall LP. The tunes are hard to describe. Overall it's still in Bruford's electronic fusion vein, but the addition of the vocals really offered something fresh. Berlin's vocals owe something to Jack Bruce's late 60s/early 70s singing style (like in Cream's As You Said or the early Tony Williams' Lifetime tunes).Bruford doesn't technically show off, but his playing still surprises us a lot. Just listen to the first instrumental break in Age Of Information, or how Bruford unexpectedly reversed a 4/4 meter during the latter half of Land's End.Last not but least: the genius of (the canterbury, not the eurhythmic) Dave Stewart. Dense and complex chords, but played passionately. Though 'the unknown John Clark' might suffer from criticism (often depicted as a HOldsworth clone), his contributions on Gothic 17 or the Sliding Floor are brilliant.After a few listenings, you might even think it's a great rock album..."
The pinnacle of the three classic Bruford studio albums
Squire Jaco | Buffalo, NY USA | 11/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Gradually Going Tornado" completed the ascent to great, inventive and clever jazz/rock fusion that Bill Bruford began with "Feels Good To Me" (4-1/2 stars) and "One of a Kind" (4-3/4 stars). Yep, this was the complete album from these guys that I had been looking for. Believe it - this is a masterpiece in its genre.
You can't ignore the unique keyboards from Dave Stewart on this - they are upfront, all over, and feature a "wall of sound" effect more often on this album. "Palewell Park" is soft and beautiful on the piano, but his playing everywhere else is fast, surprising, cool and fun - even "urban"-sounding in spots.
I'm a huge Allan Holdsworth fan, but I think replacement John Clarke is FANTASTIC on this album. (And if you ever listen to the live "Bruford Tapes", you'll hear Clarke nailing Holdsworth's solos with perfection.) Here, he impresses most on "Land's End", "q.e.d." and "Gothic 17".
Fretless bass demigod Jeff Berlin is incredibly inventive and original on this album. His "Joe Frazier" still blows my mind with its combination of speed and virtuosity, while his melodic accompaniment to Stewart's piano on "Palewell Park" is simply sublime. And he sings on four of the songs with a slightly nasal, droll and friendly tenor that's not far from John Wetton or even - I've gotta say it - crooners Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams in places! (Think about it.)
Bruford himself never sounded better than on this album (in my humble opinion). And the songwriting and production is superb; a great mix of soft and ambient atmospheres along with solid grooves, pop hooks and world class soloing from all members.
Do this for me....no, wait - Do this for YOURSELF: Find a comfortable chair, strap on your headphones, put this cd on and close your eyes for 46 minutes. Focus on the BASS, because you'll hear the keys, guitar and drums easily enough. And as the last song fades into the ether, I bet that you'll open your eyes and say, "Whoa, man, that really was one of the BEST albums I've ever heard!" (O.K., maybe you don't talk quite like that, but you get the idea....;-)
It's a great, GREAT album. I speak the truth.
I value interesting music that is played and recorded well. This cd's rating was based on: Music quality = 9.5/10; Performance = 9.5/10; Production = 9/10; CD length = 8/10. Overall score weighted on my proprietary scale = 9.3 ("5 stars") "
Protest the insanity!
S. A. Felton | southern OR USA | 06/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album came out a long time ago (1980), but it merits writing a review
many years later. The group that Bill Bruford headed put out 3 tremendous
albums, the second one, "One Of A Kind," being the best. This super group was
composed of superstars, even when the guitarist was changed on this album.
Particularly of note was Dave Stewart, maybe the most underrated keyboard
player in rock music. "Gradually Going Tornado" was the third album. It's
interesting to ponder across time how I felt about things when the album came
out, and how I feel these days, when I recently got the CD to replace my
very scratched up album. I remember well how I felt about things in 1980, and the song about
waiting for judgement day was very appropriate for me. In recent years
I've tried get beyond that and think more positively, but the "universe"
or whatever it is just keeps showing me how crazy things are. And that's
why this album easily stands the test of time for me, though it is
inconsistent. The reason for the inconsistency was the decision to use
the excellent bassist, Jeff Berlin, as vocalist, unlike getting a more
trained vocalist, as was done on the first album. Most of the time the vocals don't cut it, but they do serve a very
valid purpose, and I think one of the other reviewers noted the anger
(maybe protest is the better word) in some of the songs, and in that
sense the vocals do work. The first song has a line that is valid today:
"In this age of communication, I'm just not getting through." The second
song, "Gothic 17," has always intrigued me. When the album came out I
couldn't stand it, to be honest, but today it again serves the purpose of
protest. In my job as a computer programmer sometimes I have to sort through
thousands of lines of complicated code just to solve a simple problem, and
it can strike me as rather insane. Ditto on many things in the world, so
complicated, so absurd, so unfair, what can we do? Well, I can now listen
to this song and it sums up all this weirdness quite well. "Gradually Going Tornado" has for me maybe the best (instrumental) rock
song ever made, the fourth song, "QED" (actually it has a square root symbol
on top - who knows what the square root of QED is?!). The song quietly builds
up to a moment that just takes the listener to a higher level, which starts
right after 3:30, the most intense 45 seconds I've ever heard, followed by
Stewart playing some harmonics that are totally transcendent, then 2 minutes
or so of guitar, bass, and keyboards either trading leads or playing together,
backed by the drums, incredibly intense, and that really appeals to people like
me. As someone else noted, this track and the last track (reminiscent in part
of Stewart's "Hatfield And The North") alone make the album worth buying."
Awesome; the best of the 3 Bruford Band '70s albums
Squire Jaco | 06/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The only reason Bruford fans rate this lower than the first two albums is because Allan Holdsworth is replaced by 'the unknown' John Clark. Now, Clark is no Holdsworth but he's still an awesome guitarist & dang-near almost a Holdsworth in that he even sounds like him without going as far into Holdsworth copy-cat as say Bill Connors on his Double-Up LP. Either way, in my opinion, the overall quality of the tunes on Tornado is higher than the first two albums & that makes up for the margin between Clark & Holdsworth. Jeff Berlin is famous as a bass virtuoso & does more than a credible job singing here than he ever did in later years as a solo artist. In fact, he should've sung instead of a voice-shot Jack Bruce on the awesome Allan Holdsworth album "Road Games." Fusion fans who do not own & worship this album are just dabblers. One of the top 10 fusion albums ever made along with Inner Mounting Flame, Aurora, Birds of Fire, One of A Kind, Unorthodox Behaviour, Livestock, Enigmatic Ocean, Barefoot Boy, I.O.U. & Mind Transplant."
Pure genius - tour-de-force - my favorite album of all time.
peter gilman | switzerland/usa | 05/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this music is simultaneously accessible and sophisticated, fun and complex. the songwriting is varied; alternately angular, lyrical, direct, obtuse, exuberant, dark... the musicianship is effortless and flawless; these guys "know where the chicken salad is" (in jeff berlin's words). when it first came out, this album redefined my idea of what is possible in music (read: blew my mind), and it still stands today as a benchmark of its genre. very highly recommended for musicians and fusion fans."