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Old 04-09-2014, 04:23 AM
The Sloth The Sloth is offline
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Default Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

after he left Yes? King Crimson is more my style overall, but the recording he did on Close to the Edge can never be topped. I realize it was worked on heavily and spliced together, but that album defines prog drumming for me. So, it makes me wonder: why are his next three years so loose? Jazz influence? Burnout? Was Crimson rehearsal not as rigorous? It seems like he could get away with pretty much whatever he wanted on stage them, where that definitely wasn't true in his first band.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

Good insight on this period from the man himself in his autobiography. Much of this could be due to Robert Fripp demanding that BB pretty much forget everything he had done before.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

Bill was heavily influenced by jazz as a youngster, pre-Yes, and really the bulk of his drumming career post-Yes is jazz. Everything post Crimson late 1980s and on...all jazz. he preferred the freedom and variation of improv.
That said, like most of the band, most of his King Crimson work of the 70's was highly experimental and free-form, indeed the very opposite of Yes, of which he was bored and tired of.
His autobio is highly entertaining and he's very witty in person. A common thread of his work si that he never likes ot stay in the same place for long.
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

Horses for courses. I thought his playing on Larks' Tongues, SABB and Red was outstanding. He was deeply influenced by KC percussionist Jamie Muir, who at the time was part of the British experimental music scene, which was mostly about free improv.

As others have said, Bill was a jazz fan and was keen to improvise. In his memoir he talks about being mortified on the Yes reunion tour. He felt that playing verbatim arrangements reduced him to a jukebox and denied him expression, apart from feeling like he was repeating himself. He was nothing if not high maintenance :) So, while he was great on Close to the Edge, it was only a stepping stone for his move into improv.

I always loved his drumming. The only time I found his playing less than stellar was in his attempts to sound like an 80s drummer later on the 80s incarnation of Crimson (his playing on Discipline was incredible). Others might play four on the floor better than BB, but arguably no one players cooler prog drums.

Love his playing in all the iterations of Earthworks too. One thing Bill didn't so was scrimp on practice, although he sometimes had trouble finding time to practice when he had many organisational and media commitments when running Earthworks. Love his playing later on too. No one ever quite sounded like him.
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:48 AM
The Sloth The Sloth is offline
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

Oh, don't get me wrong. He did some great studio work with King Crimson early on. It's just that it doesn't seem even half as thorough in the getting it perfect department as studio Yes.

I really do need to pick up his autobiography.
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

Yes, you definitely do need to pick up the autobio. Besides being a top drummer he's also a talented writer (no co-write credits on this one) and soon-to-be PhD.

Don't forget that in the post-Yes 70s BB also did a lot of work that many folks are not aware of, for example playing with National Health and Gong.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

As someone said, Bruford was doing a lot more improvising with KC. He could not go back and fix parts. So you are naturally going to hear more looseness.

He said once that some KC albums were actually live recordings passed off as studio recordings (with the audience noise removed).

Most people in his position would have spent the rest of their lives dressing in flowing robes and playing Yes music, and making millions. I always admired his sense of adventure.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while

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As someone said, Bruford was doing a lot more improvising with KC. He could not go back and fix parts. So you are naturally going to hear more looseness.

He said once that some KC albums were actually live recordings passed off as studio recordings (with the audience noise removed).

Most people in his position would have spent the rest of their lives dressing in flowing robes and playing Yes music, and making millions. I always admired his sense of adventure.
The album 'Starless and Bible Black' is effectively live with some cleanup work done in the studio subsequently. It blows my mind that 'Fracture' was a live take.

You're absolutely right. King Crimson were effectively improvising around a set structure. The earlier albums up to 'Larks' Tongues' were largely studio-created (one listen to 'Lizard' will tell you this) but the three mid-70s albums were effectively live or at least recorded as a band in their entirety. The later-released live recordings had long sections of improvisation with throwaway names (check out the Discipline Global Mobile website for examples) and this is where King Crimson often composed pieces that were later released on albums.

Bruford was largely improvising and embellishing as he recorded those albums and was open to new ideas. That cymbal on 'One More Red Nightmare'? Found in a rubbish bin outside the studio. As others have said, he was hugely influenced by Jamie Muir.

So no, the production isn't as good as Yes' albums and things are occasionally loose - but it also gives King Crimson that aggressive urgency that I feel Yes lack. I really think it's Bruford's best work - and I own a few of his later Fusion albums too. 'Discipline' as a highlight of the later work - but really for raw aggression and energy, mid-70s Crimson cannot be beaten.
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

I agree, you should definately read the bio. Very entertaining.

Part of the reason he left Yes was the torturous rehearsal and recording process with the band. He talks about how they'd play for a spell and then stop and discuss (over tea) what chord came next, what notes to play, which isn't a bad thing obviously overall, but it apparently went on and on and on....And he makes it sound like every section was discussed and dissected to death. It made for a tight recording, but one that you couldn't deviate from live. He makes it clear that he was completely against recreating his parts every single night the same way, and he just couldn't see himself working in this type of structure any more..

Great stuff!
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

Someone told me that he developed really bad hand issues and couldn't play for too long at a time. Seems like you'd almost have to give practicing a break!
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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Someone told me that he developed really bad hand issues and couldn't play for too long at a time. Seems like you'd almost have to give practicing a break!
That's my issue, or so I claim...

Now, if I can find a girlfriend...
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

I've got some King Crimson Collector's Club releases and when listening to one of them for the first time I did a double-take because I was hearing a live tune that I had heard on one of the later "studio" releases. For the life of me I forget which, though.

A few years back you could go to Bill's site and ask a question and very often he'd give a reply (it was sort of a blog that he'd update every week or two). Sadly that went away. Too much spam as I recall.
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

I've got to say that I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't get at least one lesson with him when he was still teaching. He only lives about half an hour away from me.

According to a good friend of mine, he's very pleasant company. She spent a couple of days with him at a conference but had no idea who he was to begin with. That probably helped.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:34 PM
The Sloth The Sloth is offline
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

I respect his views on not wanting to repeat himself every night on tour, but when you craft the perfect drum parts for a musical setting, one which obviously won't be changing from night to night either, you begin to sound like the guy who isn't hooking up musically. Some of this went on in King Crimson. There's a live video of them doing Starless in 1974. Bill sounds like he's playing along from the next room.

I'm beginning to sound like I don't like Bruford, which isn't true. He's one of my all time favorites. I just find those few years a curiosity, because you have Fragile, Close to the Edge, the loose years... then UK and Feels Good to Me, which bring the precision back. Maybe his first attempts at pure jazz didn't exactly work for his style? Where more recently I'd say the acoustic Earthworks stuff is jazzy as hell, yet he can't quite find it when rock sections come up.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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after he left Yes? King Crimson is more my style overall, but the recording he did on Close to the Edge can never be topped. I realize it was worked on heavily and spliced together, but that album defines prog drumming for me. So, it makes me wonder: why are his next three years so loose? Jazz influence? Burnout? Was Crimson rehearsal not as rigorous? It seems like he could get away with pretty much whatever he wanted on stage them, where that definitely wasn't true in his first band.

This! Which is one reason I admire Alan White...NO, White is not near the drummer Bill is, but Alan learned the YES live catalog in like 3 days...that's got to be a daunting task.

Most written here is accurate. Bill wanted the freedom improv and jazz gave. Yes, despite their brilliance, confined him. As someone mentioned above, his sense of doing what was musically in his interest instead of chasing dollar signs is to be admired, especially in this era where we measure talent by how much one can cash in. hogwash...Bill followed his musical path and he probably sacrificed millions, but he did what was right. From the first yes record to Close to the Edge, Yes produced the gold standard for prog rock, right in league with the mighty king crimson and no matter what paths Bill traveled, his fingerprints are on progs foundation.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

I love Bill's playing on KC's Red. He plays deep, funky grooves with unusual touches like oddly placed China accents, cool fills, and just a really out of the box approach that fit KC like a glove. Since I first heard him I always thought he was a cool fusion of R&B, jazz, and rock drumming.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

Bill was so focused during the Yes period that he had neglected his sarcasm and condescension skills. He spent the following years honing those skills back up to standard, so his drumming suffered for lack of practice.

Going through a lot of trouble to tweak Grea by writing this silly post,
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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I love Bill's playing on KC's Red. He plays deep, funky grooves with unusual touches like oddly placed China accents, cool fills, and just a really out of the box approach that fit KC like a glove. Since I first heard him I always thought he was a cool fusion of R&B, jazz, and rock drumming.

One of my favorite albums ever. Completely magical album....that was the last album of that particular KC lineup...Larks and Bible Black were also equally brilliant, but Red was more frantic to me and as you mention Red had some funky groove going on....the song One More Nightmare you could mosh to it or do the hustle to it. lmao. Great freaking record.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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Bill was so focused during the Yes period that he had neglected his sarcasm and condescension skills. He spent the following years honing those skills back up to standard, so his drumming suffered for lack of practice.

Going through a lot of trouble to tweak Grea by writing this silly post,
8Mile
LMAO...I love Bill's playing, but this is funny. I remember him saying something like, "I did some drum parts that challenged Alan White"....I mean it's true, but you need to say that? He doesn't come off as a wonderful guy, but he's a badass drummer.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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I remember him saying something like, "I did some drum parts that challenged Alan White"....I mean it's true, but you need to say that? He doesn't come off as a wonderful guy, but he's a badass drummer.
Well its the truth, nothing wrong with that. Sometimes confidence and ability is perceived as condescension when verbalized.
Went to a drum clinic by him, one of his last ones. In person he's actually very polite, pleasant, very witty ... you have to be ready for the wit.
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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LMAO...I love Bill's playing, but this is funny. I remember him saying something like, "I did some drum parts that challenged Alan White"....I mean it's true, but you need to say that? He doesn't come off as a wonderful guy, but he's a badass drummer.
I met Bill a few years before he retired - he's a real gentleman - very smart and definitely witty !
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
Bill was so focused during the Yes period that he had neglected his sarcasm and condescension skills. He spent the following years honing those skills back up to standard, so his drumming suffered for lack of practice.

Going through a lot of trouble to tweak Grea by writing this silly post,
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Pretty witty Lar. Your closing style is classic.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

Haha, thanks. I'm actually a big fan of Bill's playing, but Grea and I have this long-running joke. She hasn't taken the bait yet, though.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

Laurence, you should be aware that I'm not one for games. Oh, Neal versus Bill versus goodness knows who ... please spare me, Charles!

I mean, can't we all be friends and just admit that BB was a nimble super-classy drummer capable of spanning a range of genres while Neil is, well, an advanced rock'n'roll guy. See? We can all agree with a bit of give and take.

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Old 08-14-2014, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Did Bill Bruford stop practicing for a while?

Who's Neil?

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