Exposé Online banner

Bill Bruford's Earthworks — Heavenly Bodies Expanded Edition
(Summerfold BBSF 029CD, 2019, 2CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2020-01-21

Heavenly Bodies Expanded Edition Cover art

In conjunction with the giant Bill Bruford’s Earthworks Complete box set, which contains 20 CDs and 4 DVDs, we have an expanded version of Heavenly Bodies, a compilation from 1997 that featured choice tracks from the Earthworks catalog up to that point. This new version adds a second CD, for a total of 23 tracks and over two hours of music; it’s drawn from all the albums from Earthworks (1987) through Random Acts of Happiness (2004) and Earthworks Underground Orchestra (2006). There are also a few non-album tracks drawn from videos and live shows. So the short take on this Expanded Edition is that if you’re new to Bruford’s Earthworks music, this is an excellent place to start. If you’ve already got some of the Earthworks albums, you’ll find some degree of redundancy, but short of buying the box set, it could help you decide which of the missing albums you’re most interested. The longer answer is that after his groundbreaking 1978-80 band with Dave Stewart on keyboards, Jeff Berlin on bass, and either Allan Holdsworth or John Clark on guitar, he was back in King Crimson until Robert Fripp disbanded it after Three of a Perfect Pair. With a growing desire to move in a jazz direction, he started Earthworks with Django Bates (keyboards, trumpet, tenor horn), Iain Ballamy (saxophones), and Mick Hutton (bass). While a jazz outfit like Earthworks may be artistically satisfying, it’s unlikely to provide enough income to support the musicians, so Bruford essentially financed the project by continuing more lucrative outside work (ABWH, King Crimson, and so on). Over the years until it was finally disbanded, Earthworks featured a number of different musicians: Tim Harries (bass), Mark Hodgson (bass), Steve Hamilton (keyboards), Patrick Clahar (saxophones), and Tim Garland (saxophones). Bruford wrote the bulk of the material, though several of the others contributed compositions. In the band’s early days, Bruford made extensive use of Simmons electronic drums, though later he returned to a standard acoustic kit. To a modern listener, some of the electronic percussion, along with the keyboard sounds used, may sound a bit dated, but the compositions are strong, and Bruford should be credited for his exploration and pioneering of electronics in jazz. One thing that should be noted is that Earthworks’ music has little resemblance to what most listeners would recognize as jazz fusion. In addition to the lack of guitar, the rhythms used don’t really slip into rock or funk, though odd meters show up from time to time. There are some nods to latin and African rhythms, some swinging post-bop, and some moody ballads, but on the whole, the music is very original and is distinctively Bruford’s. So here you go: A great sampling of some of the most original jazz from the late 80s through early 00s, well worth checking out if you’ve never heard it.


Filed under: Archives, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Bruford / Earthworks

More info
http://burningshed.com/bill-brufords-earthworks_heavenly-bodies_2cd

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Beardfish - Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two – Beardfish’s rise to prominence is due to hard work and good music, as long as your tastes run toward the sort of modern prog that pays homage to classic 70s bands. Main man Rikard Sjöblom is one of...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues