Bill Bruford

Bill Bruford grew to love jazz. After starting his professional career as a drummer in the 1960s, he took a few lessons from Lou Pocock, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s chief conductor. From 1968 to 1974, he was a leader in British “Art Rock”, touring the world with King Crimson and Yes. After several years of watching and participating in music-making processes at Gong, National Health and Genesis, Bill finally felt ready to create and perform his own music. He recorded four albums with his band Bruford between 1977 and 1980. However, it was the King Crimson reconstituted of 1980-84 that enabled him to use electronics to develop the melodic side percussion. After a two-year/two-album stint improvising on acoustic drums and piano with Patrick Moraz in 1986, Bruford founded his electro-acoustic jazz band Earthworks with DjangoBates and Iain Ballamy to continue the work on melody from the drum kit, but in a jazz context. America’s USA Today named Earthworks the “third-best jazz album of 1987”. Dig followed in its footsteps. (1989), All Heaven Broke Loose (911) and Stamping Ground (1994). King Crimson once again proved it was a percussion think-tank by launching the double-rhythm team of Bruford, Pat Mastelotto and the 1994 double-trio incarnation. The band performed 120 concerts around the globe in late 1994 and 1995. They also produced live and studio CDs that documented their innovative use of two drummers. King Crimson continued concerts in 1996, as well as the production of a CD Rom that embodied Bruford’s method, which was a tri-format combination of audio, MIDI/digital information, called Packet of Three. Between all of this, Bill was able to record and/or travel with Kazumi Watanabe and David Torn, Jamaaladeen Inoue and Akira Inoue. He also produced a CD Rom that embodied Bruford’s approach, in a tri-format combination audio and MIDI/digital data, called Packet of 3. In 1993, he continued to be an active clinician, with a series clinics in Europe, America, and culminating in his highly-acclaimed appearance at Columbus’s Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Ohio. Modern Drummer Magazine’s readers elected him into the magazine’s Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1997, Bruford released two major albums, underscoring his commitment to jazz in the late 90s. Heavenly Bodies, the Earthworks “best-of” compilation, was released in May by Virgin Record, U.K. Next, a late summer album of new material featuring jazz giants Ralph Towner (guitars, piano, and bass) called If Summer had its Ghosts was released on King Crimson’s Discipline Records. The band’s live performances led to the release a sixth C.D. after touring internationally with Earthworks II, which featured Steve Hamilton (keyboards), and Patrick Clahar(saxophones). 1999’s “A Part and Yet Apart” was released. Electronic percussion was replaced by the looser, warmer style of the traditional saxo-piano-bass drums line up. Bruford also continued to attract an international audience to his young British players. The live album B.L.U.E. was released by Bruford Levin’s Upper Extremities in the new millennium. Nights and the augmentation Earthworks with Larry Coryell, a jazz guitarist, for the 2000 summer jazz festival season. Earthworks recorded its seventh CD after a 22-date tour of the U.K. The Sound of Surprise was released in November by Earthworks. Spring 2002 saw two CDs from London, “Footloose and Fancy Free”, and a DVD from New York called “Footloose In N.Y.C”. Clahar was replaced by Tim Garland, a multi-talented member of Chick Corea’s most recent group. Downbeat magazine awarded the new CD the “5 Stars” award. To cater to different parts of his rapidly expanding catalogue that already includes 35 titles, Bill founded Summerfold Records in 2004 and Winterfold Records in 2005. Recent collaborations include The World Drummers Ensemble, Earthworks Underground Orchestra and others. The much-loved Rock Goes To College DVD was released by his former team, “Bruford” in 2006. Bill is the father of three adult children. He lives in Surrey Hills with Carolyn, his two cats, and still has three grandchildren. He retired from public performance on January 1 2009 after 41 years as a musician, and published his autobiography in March 2009. from

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