Bill Bruford's Earthworks — Random Acts of Happiness
(Summerfold SFVP001CD, 2004, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01
It has been said that jazz is all about Swing. I’ll go along with that — as long as I get to define Swing my own way. Swing is more than just a particular rhythmic feel; Swing, to me, is an attitude toward the music, an attitude that says everything is open to interpretation, even the beat. Swing is about improvisation, and while rock and other genres may feature improvisation, the beat is not subject to interpretation. In rock (for the most part), the beat is master to the music, and if you forget that, you’re not rocking! Paradoxically, this fact leads to jazz having a Groove. Other genres can Groove, but they arrive at it from a different direction. Anyway, all this gets around to my amazement at Bill Bruford’s drumming. Long ago he earned his place as one of the great rock drummers of all time, and his precision is legendary. We learned some time ago that his heart was more inclined toward jazz, and through the various Earthworks incarnations, he has proved that he also ranks as one of the great jazz drummers. He’s also the kind of leader who surrounds himself with supremely talented cohorts and gives them room to shine. Another amazing thing about Bruford (as if there wasn’t already enough) is his skill as a composer. From the (perhaps) overly complicated tunes of his early solo days, he has grown to master the balance between complexity and Groove, producing truly outstanding music that satisfies from all angles.
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
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
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more