Bill Bruford with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez — If Summer Had Its Ghosts
(Discipline DGM9705, 1997, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01
When Bill Bruford is on break from his drum duties with King Crimson, what would you expect him to do? Should he go on vacation or work in another less hectic, but rewarding mode? If Summer Had Its Ghosts is the result of one week's playing with two other world class players. Featured prominently in the eleven pieces is Ralph Towner of Oregon, also a noted solo artist and collaborator with John Abercrombie. Eddie Gomez is known for ten years of stand up bass work as one third of the Bill Evans trio. And yes this is a jazz trio album, and nearly a quartet due to Towner's doubling up on both guitar and piano. Stylistically the disc is Bruford's first ECM label 'mood' album as a leader, one of tone and color not necessarily hot chops. Bill is the primary composer except for Amethyst (Gomez) and the album's closing piece, "Now is the Next Time" (Towner). Melody lines are indistinct between improv and composition which is the stamp of a healthy creative dialog between listening contributors. Pulse varies based on individual tracks so don't expect any weird time signature showcase; Bruford uses many subtle facets of his percussive palette throughout the disc. However, he continues to deliver through his on-going compositional education. Notable tracks include "Never the Same Way Once" which features a spirited string bass solo by Gomez. "Forgiveness" is an unreleased Earthworks ballad featuring Towner's classical guitar and sparsely understated piano. It's disappointing that they won't be touring soon since the master drummer has re-formed Earthworks 2 and is playing throughout Europe for a few months. Although the disc may be slow to warm up to, if you like sophisticated jazz, then you'll be pleased by the nuances and spirited interplay.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more