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

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Body Full of Stars - Falling Angels – Mark Dunn seems like quite a colorful guy. The leader and main songwriter for English group Body Full of Stars writes spirited Afro- and British pop and has a vocal delivery full of English wit and...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues