Over the past 50 years Bill Bruford has been one of the most original and innovative drummers across multiple genres. Making A Song and Dance: A Complete Career Collection is a six CD box set charting some of the many highlights of his incredible career and is released on 29th April through BMG.
From early steps with progressive legends Yes and a quarter of a century in King Crimson, to ground-breaking jazz fusion leading his own Bruford and Earthworks projects, Bill Bruford has always wanted to explore his chosen discipline to the full – And then push the boundaries further. This desire to challenge convention has created some breath-taking moments and made Bruford the drummer-of-choice for collaborations with leading musicians around the world.
“My interest was with the broader discourse on drums and drumming, rather than any notions of success or fame,” said Bruford. “The latter I could do little about but, in the 1960s, the former was wide open and meaningful contribution seemed everywhere possible. The context in which the first track in the set was conceived bears almost no relationship to the context in which the last was, four decades later.
“There was a big premium put on the notion of difference. I wanted to sound different to contemporaries like Carl Palmer (ELP), Brian ‘Blinky’ Davison (The Nice) or John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). I figured if I hadn’t heard it before, the other guys in the band probably hadn’t either. Thinking up interesting things to do on a drum kit was my reason to exist. I also thought that was what they were paying me to do. I didn’t care much what the critic, commentator or musicologist thought, and that was to remain my lodestone, my modus operandi for many years.”
For this anthology Bruford has selected tracks from across his whole career, comprising works from some 23 different artists and bands over a 40-year period. “I’ve deliberately avoided forcing them into industry categories such as progressive rock, fusion’ or jazz,” Bruford adding, “On the grounds that most of the music I’ve been associated with fits very poorly into such straight-jackets – round holes and square pegs come to mind.”
Making A Song and Dance: A Complete Career Collection includes tracks from Yes, King Crimson, Bruford, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, his work with iconic global guitarists Al Di Meola, Steve Howe and Kazumi Watanabe and collaborations with keyboardists Patrick Moraz and Michiel Borstlap and many others. The package also includes a detailed biography, written by Bruford, featuring rare and unseen photos. The outer box artwork, gatefold CDs and booklet have been designed by Bruford’s long-time artist and graphic designer Dave McKean.
Tracks featured across the six CDS of Making A Song and Dance: A Complete Career Collection are as follows:
Disc One: Yes – ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’, ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ & ‘And You & I’, King Crimson – ‘The Great Deceiver’, ‘Fracture’, ‘One More Red Nightmare’ & ‘Starless’, and U.K. – ‘Nevermore’.
Disc Two: King Crimson – ‘Frame By Frame’, ‘Neal And Jack And Me’, ‘Heartbeat’ & ‘Waiting Man’, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe – ‘Brother of Mine (Radio Edit)’, King Crimson – ‘Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream’, ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic: Pt 2’, ‘Three of a Perfect Pair’, ‘Man With An Open Heart’, ‘Elephant Talk’, ‘Indiscipline’ & ‘Big Funk’, and PianoCircus featuring Bill Bruford & Colin Riley – ‘The Still Small Voice’.
THE COMPOSING LEADER
Disc Three: Bruford – ‘Seems Like A Lifetime Ago: Pt 1’, ‘Seems Like A Lifetime Ago: Pt 2’, ‘One Of A Kind: Pt 1’, ‘One Of A Kind: Pt 2’, ‘Palewell Park’ & ‘Joe Frazier’, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – ‘It Needn’t End in Tears’, ‘My Heart Declares A Holiday’, ‘Downtown’, ‘Pilgrims’ Way’, ‘Temple Of The Winds’, ‘Candles Still Flicker In Romania’s Dark’ & ‘Nerve’,and Bruford, Towner, Gomez – ‘Thistledown’.
Disc Four: Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – ‘Beelzebub’, Bruford-Levin – ‘Original Sin’, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – ‘Revel Without A Pause’, ‘Triplicity’ & ‘The Sound Of Surprise’, Earthworks Underground Orchestra – ‘Speaking in Wooden Tongues’, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – ‘Modern Folk’, ‘White Knuckle Wedding’, and Earthworks Underground Orchestra – ‘Footloose and Fancy Free’ & ‘Thud’.
THE SPECIAL GUEST
Disc Five: Roy Harper – ‘Grown Ups Are Just Silly Children’ & ‘Hallucinating Light’, Chris Squire – ‘Lucky Seven (Single Edit)’ & ‘Silently Falling’, Al Di Meola – ‘Calliope’, David Torn – ‘Voodoo Chile’, Kazumi Watanabe – ‘Andre’ & ‘Small Wonder’, Steve Howe – ‘The Inner Battle’, Buddy Rich Big Band – ‘Lingo’, Pete Lockett’s Network of Sparks featuring Bill Bruford – ‘Prism’, and PianoCircus featuring Bill Bruford & Colin Riley – ‘Achilles Feel’.
Disc Six: Moraz-Bruford – ‘Galatea’ & ‘Symmetry’, PianoCircus featuring Bill Bruford & Colin Riley – ‘Stalling Between Two Fools’, King Crimson – ‘No Warning’, Moraz-Bruford – ‘Flags’ & ‘Split Seconds’, David Torn – ‘Previous Man’ & ‘Three Minutes of Pure Entertainment’, Bruford-Borstlap – ‘16 Kingdoms Of The 5 Barbarians’ & ‘Stand On Zanzibar’, Earthworks – ‘With Friends Like These…’, and Bruford-Borstlap – ‘Low Tide’, ‘Camber Sands’ & ‘Kinship’.
Bill Bruford was a founder member (1968 – 1972) of progressive pioneers Yes performing, composing for, and recording their genre-defining albums Yes, Time And A Word, The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge. He would renew this association as a member of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (ABWH) in 1989 and for the Yes album Union and subsequent tour of 1991 and 1992. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes in 2017.
Known for his ringing metal snare drum, crisp cymbal work and knack for complex time signatures, Bruford sought new challenges and King Crimson’s ever-shifting musical horizons gave Bruford the opportunity to explore and experiment across the following 25 years. Bruford completed his hat-trick of prog giants by joining Genesis for their first tour with Phil Collins as frontman.
Alongside his work with King Crimson, Bruford was touring with National Health, was a member another prog-rock supergroup UK and leading his own jazz fusion band Bruford.
In 1986 he formed Bill Bruford’s Earthworks to further explore his love of jazz, a project that would last until Bruford retired from music in 2009. Along the way Bruford founded two record imprints Winterfold Records and Summerfold Records. He was ever in demand for collaborations with the likes of Patrick Moraz and Michiel Borstlap whilst also appearing on works by Roy Harper, Al Di Meola, David Torn, Kazumi Watanabe and many, many more. Through all this he continued as an active clinician with workshops and clinics all over the world, supported by Tama Drums and Paiste cymbals.
Bill Bruford’s achievements were recognised by his appearance in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 20 Greatest Drummers of All Time list. Following retirement from public performance in 2009, Bill authored an autobiography (2009) and was awarded a PhD in musicology from the University of Surrey in 2016. His most recent volume Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer (2018) is published by the University of Michigan Press.
To pre-order Bill Bruford’s boxset Making A Song and Dance: A Complete Career Collection click here.