EGED 48 Bill Bruford's Earthworks
Produced by Bill Bruford and Dave Stewart
Released on 1987
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
EGED 48 cover  

First there were four albums of guitar-led fusion, then a pair of piano & drums works with Patrick Moraz, and now the third phase of Bruford’s solo career begins: avant jazz with horns. Bill Bruford’s Earthworks isn’t a complete departure from his past work -- winning melodies and exotic percussion still play a pivotal role in the music -- but the presence of two horn-playing songwriters (Iain Ballamy and Django Bates) opens the door to many new musical avenues. Bruford still pleases both halves of his musical mind, psuedo-intellectual and iconoclastic one moment (as in the opening “Thud,” which recalls an earlier EG act, The Lounge Lizards), sentimental and remarkably accessible the next (“Making A Song And Dance”). Ballamy and Bates are real finds, the latter a double threat to play the horn (e.g., “Up North”) and piano (“Pressure”), leaving the lovely solos to the former’s small array of saxophones. In such surroundings, acoustic bassist Mick Hutton becomes an afterthought, and as for Bruford -- well, I’m not sure what he’s doing here some of the time. His handiwork is stamped all over tracks like “My Heart Declares A Holiday” and “Bridge of Inhibition,” but the virtuoso drummer is a virtual no-show for “It Needn’t End In Tears” and “Up North.” Perhaps Bruford was adopting the role of the jazz impresario, letting the young turks slug it out for musical turf while he recedes into the background, his percussion more the wise minister than willful dictator. While more audible participation from Mr. B would have only endeared this more to his fans, the fact remains that Bill Bruford’s Earthworks is a pleasant, often exciting venture regardless of who’s driving the horses. Even if his greatest contribution is bringing good music to light, it’s something to be thankful for.

EGED 48 back cover
EGED 48 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. THUD    (Iain Ballamy)    4:10
  2. MAKING A SONG AND DANCE    (Bill Bruford/Iain Ballamy)    5:52
  3. UP NORTH    (Bill Bruford/Iain Ballamy/Django Bates)    5:19
  4. PRESSURE    (Bill Bruford)    7:25
  5. MY HEART DECLARES A HOLIDAY    (Bill Bruford/Iain Ballamy/Django Bates)    4:35
  6. EMOTIONAL SHIRT    (Django Bates)    4:45
  7. IT NEEDN'T END IN TEARS    (Iain Ballamy)    5:04
  8. THE SHEPHERD IS ETERNAL    (Bill Bruford/Django Bates)    1:50
  9. BRIDGE OF INHIBITION    (Bill Bruford/Iain Ballamy/Django Bates)    4:15

CREDITS

BILL BRUFORD -- acoustic and electronic drums, percussion, whirled instruments
IAIN BALLAMY -- soprano, alto & tenor saxophones
DJANGO BATES -- keyboards, E-flat tenor horn, trumpet
MICK HUTTON -- acoustic bass
Max Eastley -- whirled instruments (8)
Barbara Gaskin -- sampled vocals (7)
Dave Stewart -- samples, keyboard bass, very occasional additional keyboards
Owen Morris -- mixing
Martin Rex -- engineer

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1987 Editions EG LP/CD/CS EGED/EEGCD/EGEDC-48  
    Caroline CD 1523  

 

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