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.
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
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
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
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