PD-1-6261 Gradually Going Tornado
Produced by Ron Malo and Bill Bruford
Released on 1980
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
PD-1-6261 cover  

H alf of the songs on Gradually Going Tornado feature bassist Jeff Berlin on vocals. If you were burned by Brand X’s Product, take heart: this album aims higher, suggesting a Hyde/Jekyll split of UK or King Crimson on the vocal tracks, Weather Report on the instrumentals. Again, Bill Bruford’s contributions are primarily those of a composer, architecting rhythmically complex arrangements for the rest of the band to play while he assumes the role of musical straight man on the drums. Guitarist John Clark, who replaced Holdsworth for The Bruford Tapes, is still in place but garners few solos (though he does factor into “Land’s End” and “Q.E.D.”), placing most of the music on the shoulders of Berlin and Dave Stewart. Of course, they’re up to the task, whether it’s painting by Bruford’s numbers on the languid “Palewell Park” or matching each other note for note on the Jaco Pastorius-sounding “Joe Frazier.” The only weak link is Berlin’s voice; he’s a better bass guitarist than John Wetton, Greg Lake or Boz Burrell, but they could sing rings around him. (To his credit, at least Berlin doesn’t mask his voice into the murky mess than John Goodsall did for Brand X.) Two songs most likely to tickle the toes of prog fans are “Gothic 17” (which was included on Bruford’s best-of Master Strokes) and “The Sliding Floor” (which wasn’t). The former is a contentious slice of Crimson that recalls the work of Steve Hackett as well (primarily “Racing In A”), the latter likewise pointing to the music that would appear on Discipline. Not having heard Feels Good To Me, I can’t speak for all of Bruford’s albums to this point, but it does feel as though he’s settled on a distinctive sound of his own with Gradually Going Tornado. That angst-ridden rock and watercolor jazz can coexist on the same album shouldn’t be surprising (Weather Report did it all the time), but Bruford no longer feels derivative of other artists. Here, he’s borrowing from himself (UK, King Crimson), and the result casts his other musical contributions into a better light. Granted, Yes represents an entirely different chapter than the music explored here, but fans of UK and the ‘80s incarnation of King Crimson should gradually get around to buying (and enjoying) Gradually Going Tornado.

PD-1-6261 back cover PD-1-6261 promotional sleeve
PD-1-6261 back cover PD-1-6261 promotional sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. AGE OF INFORMATION    (Bill Bruford/Dave Stewart)    4:41
  2. GOTHIC 17    (Bill Bruford/Dave Stewart)    5:07
  3. JOE FRAZIER    (Jeff Berlin)    4:41
  4. Q.E.D.    (Bill Bruord/Dave Stewart)    7:46
  5. THE SLIDING FLOOR    (Bill Bruford/Dave Stewart/Jeff Berlin)    4:58
  6. PALEWELL PARK    (Bill Bruford)    3:57
  7. PLANS FOR J.D.    (Bill Bruford)    3:50
  8. LAND'S END    (Dave Stewart)    10:20

CREDITS

JEFF BERLIN -- bass and lead vocals
BILL BRUFORD -- drums and cymbals
THE UNKNOWN JOHN CLARK -- guitar
DAVE STEWART -- keyboards
Georgie Born -- cello (2)
Barbara Gaskin -- voices (8)
Amanda Parsons -- voices (8)
Ron Malo -- first engineer, mix engineer
Martin Moss -- second engineer
Peter Buhlmann -- tape operator
Paul Neagu -- sleeve art direction and design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 1980 EG Records LP EGLP 104 postcard
US 1980 Polydor LP/CS PD/CT-1-6261  
JPN 1980 Polydor LP MPF-1293 lyric sleeve
US 1992? EG Records LP/CD/CS EGLP/EGCD/EGLPC-44 Collector's Edition
US   Caroline CD 1526  

 

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