Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bill Bruford's Winterfold Collection

Drummer Bill Bruford has been a thinking person’s rocker. His musical and thoughtfully driving work with Genesis, Yes and King Crimson has been a model for emulation. He has also had a long career as a leader in his own right. Sadly, he recently announced his retirement from active playing. But to cap it all off he’s put together two retrospective collections of the various recordings he made with his own band over the years. The Winterfold Collection (Winterfold), a first installment, covers the fertile period of 1978-1986. We’ll take a look at that volume today and cover the second set a little later on.

The first thing one is struck with is the variety and quality of the music and ensembles involved. The progressive and fusion elements are there as one expects, but there are many different ways of arriving to those musical places. The excellent tracks featuring the acerbic Annette Peacock on vocals (part of the time) and the wonderful Alan Holdsworth on guitar are perhaps the most striking. The material is unusual and the band really burns it up. The collaborations with keyboardists Dave Stewart and Patrick Moraz are adventurous excursions that bear listening to again as well. None of this music sounds dated, as some of this sort of material can these days. Bruford’s drumming is consistently refreshing and unexpected and there’s a consistency of direction there that comes from his strengths as a leader. We wish him well in his retirement and hope you will give this volume a listen in tribute. I am very glad to have had a chance to go back again and rehear these sides anew.

Originally posted on March 11, 2009 at www.gapplegate.com/musicalblog.htm

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