|Birth name||William Scott Bruford|
|Born||17 May 1949|
Sevenoaks, Kent, England
|Years active||1967–2009, 2011|
William Scott Bruford (born 17 May 1949) is an English retired drummer, composer, producer, record label owner and musicologist who first gained prominence as a founding member of the progressive rock band Yes.After his departure from Yes, Bruford spent the rest of the 1970s recording and touring in King Crimson (1972-1974), touring with Roy Harper (1975), Genesis (1976), and U.K. (1978). Eventually he formed his own group (Bruford), which was active from 1978-1980.
In the 1980s, Bruford returned to King Crimson for three years (1981-1984), collaborated with several artists (including Patrick Moraz and David Torn), and formed his own electric jazz band Earthworks in 1986. He then played with his former Yes bandmates in Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, which eventually led to a (very brief) second stint in Yes. Bruford played in King Crimson for his third (and final) tenure from 1994-1997, after which he continued with a new acoustic configuration of Earthworks.
On 1 January 2009, Bruford retired from public performance, barring one private gig in 2011. He released his autobiography, and continues to speak and write about music. He operates his record labels, Summerfold and Winterfold Records. In 2016, after four-and-a-half years of study, Bruford earned a PhD in Music at the University of Surrey, in the same year Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bruford No. 16 in its list of the "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time".He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes in 2017.
Bruford was born on 17 May 1949 in Sevenoaks, Kent, the third child of Betty and John Bruford, a local veterinary surgeon.He has a brother, John, and a sister, Jane. He attended boarding school at Tonbridge School. Bruford decided to take up drumming at thirteen after watching American jazz drummers on the BBC2 jazz television series, Jazz 625 , and practised the instrument in the attic of his house. He cites Max Roach, Joe Morello, Art Blakey, and Ginger Baker as the most influential drummers on him as a youngster. Around this time, Bruford's sister bought him a pair of drum brushes as a birthday present, and Bruford would practise using them on album sleeves after he was told the sound resembled a snare drum while watching Jazz 625. Bruford recalled it as "a perfect education". Though he was given a single snare drum at first, Bruford gradually built a full drum kit. He later took a few lessons from Lou Pocock, a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
During his time at boarding school, Bruford befriended several fellow jazz fans, one of them a drummer who gave Bruford lessons in improvisation and a tutorial book by American jazz drummer Jim Chapin. They then performed as a four-piecenamed The Breed, an R & B/ soul band consisting of Stu Murray on guitar, Mike Freeman on saxophone, Ray Bennett (who would later play with Peter Banks's Flash) on bass, Doug Kennard on guitar and vocals and Bruford. He played with them from 1966 to 1967. After he left boarding school, Bruford took a gap year before he intended to start an economics course at Leeds University. He auditioned for a place in Savoy Brown in January 1968 at a pub in Battersea. After the unsuccessful audition, Bruford "hung around until the end and told them they had the wrong guy ... I talked my way into it". His tenure lasted three gigs because he "messed with the beat", and next joined a psychedelic rock band called Paper Blitz Tissue for a brief time. Bruford then spotted an ad in a music shop from The Noise, who were looking for a drummer to play with them for a six-week residency at the Piper Club in Rome, Italy. He remembered the experience as "ghastly", felt his bandmates could not play properly, and had to hitchhike back to London with his kit.
Following his return to London, the nineteen-year-old Bruford settled into a flat in north London and placed an advertisement for drum work in the Melody Maker .It was spotted by singer Jon Anderson of the psychedelic rock band Mabel Greer's Toyshop, formed of bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Clive Bayley, who sought a replacement for their departing drummer, Bob Hagger. The four met on 7 June 1968; Anderson was so impressed with Bruford that he invited him to play with the band that evening at the Rachel McMillan College in Deptford. Their entire set consisted of "In the Midnight Hour" by Wilson Pickett as it was the only song they all knew how to play through, but Bruford was impressed with the band's ability to sing in harmony. Following the gig, Bruford had several offers to join soul bands, one of which earned as much as £30 a week, but chose to remain with Anderson and Squire, who took charge in forming a new band. The four entered rehearsals, which ended in Peter Banks replacing Bayley on guitar, and changed their name to Yes with new recruit, keyboardist Tony Kaye.
Bruford played on Yes's first five studio albums during his initial tenure: Yes (1969), Time and a Word (1970), The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971), and Close to the Edge (1972). His first attempt at composition was "Five Per Cent for Nothing", recorded for Fragile. His main interest was allowing the drums to "be heard" as Squire played his bass often in the higher register, and so developed a style that involved unusual "beat placement" and time signatures.He developed his musical understanding during this time: "I learned how to read the horizontal lines, but not the vertical notes."
Bruford recalled Yes being hot blooded and argumentative, with personality conflicts being the eventual reason for his exit. These, for him, included problems in understanding other members' accents, differences in social backgrounds, and many other issues that set the band in a constant state of friction between Anderson, Squire, and himself.
In July 1972, after Close to the Edge had been recorded, Bruford quit to join King Crimson, later explaining: "King Crimson was one of the only gigs for a rock drummer where you could play in 17/16 and still stay in decent hotels".Rehearsals began in September 1972, followed by an extensive UK tour. His instinct to remember complicated drum parts was shown when he learned how to play the long percussion and guitar part in the middle of "21st Century Schizoid Man", "by listening to it and just learning it." Bruford cites the six months free jazz percussionist Jamie Muir was in the band as highly influential on him as a player. Bruford is featured on Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974), Red (1974) and the live album USA (1975). Robert Fripp disbanded King Crimson in September 1974.
After leaving King Crimson, Bruford felt his "sense of direction was rather stymied" and was unsure on his next step. In late 1974, he became a temporary member of the French-Anglo band Gong for a European tour after drummer Laurie Allan was busted for drugs at a border. Bruford then chose to wait for an appealing offer while earning money as a session musician.The sessions were few, however, and the ones that he was a part of he called "unmitigated disasters". In 1975, Bruford played drums on Fish Out of Water by Chris Squire, HQ by Roy Harper, and At the Sound of the Bell by Pavlov's Dog. He joined National Health for several live performances, but declined an offer to join full-time as there were already many writers in the group, and felt his contributions to the music, the majority of which was already written, would have caused problems.
By 1976, Bruford had rehearsed with Ray Gomez and Jeff Berlin in the US but plans to form a group failed, partly due to the members living far away from each other.He wished not to force a band together, so he decided to "watch, wait, observe and absorb". From March to July Bruford toured with Genesis on their 1976 tour of North America and Europe, supporting A Trick of the Tail . It was their first album and tour after original frontman Peter Gabriel had left, leaving drummer Phil Collins to sing lead vocals. Bruford had known Collins for several years and performed with Collins' side project Brand X, during which he suggested sitting in the drum seat while Collins sang on stage until Genesis found a permanent replacement. Bruford is included on the concert film recorded during the tour, Genesis: In Concert , and the live albums Seconds Out and Three Sides Live .
After Genesis, Bruford became involved in a tentative rock trio with Rick Wakeman and John Wetton, which received press coverage in October 1976. The group disbanded weeks later, after Wakeman opted to rejoin Yes instead.
In 1977, Bruford formed his own band named Bruford. Members of the band were initially Dave Stewart (keyboards), Jeff Berlin (bass), Allan Holdsworth (guitar) and Bruford (drums). The first album Feels Good to Me (1978, recorded as a solo project) also had Annette Peacock on vocals, Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn and John Goodsall on rhythm guitar. After recording Feels Good to Me, Bruford reunited with John Wetton and formed the progressive rock group U.K.. After their debut album U.K. (1978) and several tours, Holdsworth and Bruford left the group due to disagreements on the group's musical direction.
Bruford resumed activity in his own group to release One of a Kind (1979). Almost entirely instrumental, the album contains some spoken lines by Bruford during the introduction to "Fainting in Coils". Subsequent gigs spawned the live releases Rock Goes to College and The Bruford Tapes (1979). Their final album, Gradually Going Tornado (1980), features backing vocals from Canterbury scene stalwarts Barbara Gaskin and Amanda Parsons, as well as Georgina Born on cello. Unfinished songs for a projected fourth album were recorded in 1980, but remained unreleased until 2017.
In 1981, Bruford returned to King Crimson in a new formation with Fripp, Tony Levin, and Adrian Belew. The four recorded Discipline (1981), Beat (1982), and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984), all featuring Bruford on acoustic and electronic drums, allowing him to play programmed tuned pitches and sound effects which expanded his capabilities as a result.In 1984, Fripp disbanded the group.
In 1983, Bruford formed a duo with Swiss keyboardist and former Yes member Patrick Moraz after he learned that Moraz was living close to him in Surrey. The project had Bruford develop a "real taste for improvising".Under the name Moraz/Bruford, the two released Music for Piano and Drums (1983) and Flags (1985), two albums recorded on acoustic instruments. The albums were supported with several live shows, including a tour of Japan.
In 1985, Bruford was approached by Jimmy Page to be the drummer for his new band with Paul Rodgers and Pino Palladino named The Firm. He recalled: "We rehearsed briefly, but I think decided we were mutually unsuited!"
In 1986, Bruford formed his jazz group Earthworks with Django Bates, Iain Ballamy and Mick Hutton (later replaced by Tim Harries), with initial assistance from Dave Stewart.By then, drum technology had improved to Bruford's satisfaction and he resumed using the instrument, specifically the Simmons electronic drum kit. The band toured the US club circuit through 1987.
Bruford temporarily put Earthworks on hold in 1988 after Jon Anderson invited him to form Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with other former Yes members Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe (although he'd initially been under the impression that he'd be playing on an Anderson solo album). Bruford was attracted to the idea of recording on Montserrat (as well as the opportunity to better finance Earthworks via the larger fees he'd command as an in-demand rock musician), and convinced Anderson to hire Tony Levin on bass for the project. Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was released in 1989 and the group toured the album worldwide. In 1990, ABWH and Yes merged to become an eight-member formation of Yes which saw the release of Union (1991), mixing tracks by Yes and those that ABWH had recorded for a proposed second album. Most of the band were openly critical of the album; Bruford said: "The worst record I've ever been on".He took part in the subsequent Union Tour, and though he enjoyed the enthusiastic audiences in large venues and performing with former band mates, he found the experience "pretty horrible".
In 1990, Bruford was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.He left Yes in the same year, although he and Steve Howe would later undertake a recording project together in 1992/1993 to have an orchestra reinterpret some of Yes' works. The resulting album, titled Symphonic Music of Yes , was released on RCA records in 1993.
In January 1991, Bruford reconvened Earthworks: the group would continue in its current form until 1993, recording one further studio album and a live album before the departure of Django Bates and the subsequent fissioning of the whole band.
King Crimson re-emerged once more in 1994 as a six-piece band, consisting of its 1980s line-up with the additions of Pat Mastelotto sharing the drumming duties with Bruford, and Trey Gunn on Chapman Stick. Dubbed the "double trio" configuration, they released Vrooom (1994) EP, Thrak (1995), and two live albums, B'Boom: Live in Argentina (1995) and Thrakattak (1996). Rehearsals to develop new material followed, as well as a week of performance with the sub-group ProjeKcts One in 1997, after which Bruford left the band and its iterations for good. His reason for abandoning King Crimson was his frustration with rehearsals, which he felt came to nothing.
In 1997, Bruford moved focus from rock to acoustic jazz, partly because he felt jazz required a return to a beginning jumping-off point.In 1997 he put together an entirely new line-up of Earthworks, this time with pianist Steve Hamilton, saxophonist Patrick Clahar, and double bass player Geoff Gascoyne (the latter soon replaced by Mark Hodgson). Although Earthworks would undergo further lineup changes (with Tim Garland replacing Clahar as saxophonist in 2001, Gwilym Simcock replacing Hamilton as pianist in 2004, and Laurence Cottle replacing Hodgson on bass circa 2005), the revived band would maintain a consistent, predominantly acoustic post-bop approach focussing on Bruford's compositions. During 2005, Earthworks would temporarily combine with Garland's Underground Orchestra project to form the Earthworks Underground Orchestra. Earthworks finally disbanded in 2008.
While Earthworks remained Bruford's primary focus, he also sought other collaborations in the final twelve years of his career. These included a collaboration with Americans Eddie Gomez and Ralph Towner in 1997, the jazz-rock band Bruford Levin Upper Extremities (1998), a duo with Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap (2002-2007),the contemporary composer Colin Riley with the Piano Circus collective (2009), and in presenting drum clinics.
In 2003, Bruford established two record labels. Winterfold Records covers his earlier releases including his guitar and rock-oriented music. The other, Summerfold Records, focuses on his jazz output, mostly from post-1987.
Bruford retired from performing and recording on 1 January 2009.He retired from studio recording at the same time, although his final studio work, Skin & Wire , was not released until later that year. Also in early 2009, Bruford released his autobiography. In 2011, Bruford made one low-key public performance with Ann Bailey's Soul House.
In 2016, after four years of study, Bruford earned a PhD in Music at the University of Surrey.
In April 2017, Bruford was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes. He attended the ceremony, but did not perform or give an acceptance speech.
When interviewed in 1982, Bruford commented on his ability to compose for King Crimson. "It's very hard to know how to communicate in a band like that where the individuals are competent enough to produce their own kinds of sounds, it's very hard to write for a band like that."
Many artists have cited Bruford as an influence, including Danny Carey,Mike Portnoy, Matt Cameron, Brann Dailor, Tim "Herb" Alexander, Gene Hoglan, Aaron Harris, Chad Cromwell, Ben Koller, Chris Pennie, Steve Arrington, Mac McNeilly, Eric Kretz, and Martin Dosh. In addition, other artists have been quoted expressing admiration for his work including Neil Murray, Jimmy Keegan, and Adrian Younge.
In 1990, the readers of Modern Drummer voted him into that magazine's Hall of Fame.
Q: Which drummers have been an inspiration to you?
Danny Carey: In the prog world, Bill Bruford (King Crimson, Yes, Bruford). He was always really free thinking about electronic drums and things like that and I always appreciated that a lot, especially at one point when all of a sudden it became so uncool to use electronic drums, but I just thought, 'Ah, man, everyone should do what pleases themselves'. So yes, he was a big influence in that way. [...]
An interesting aspect of Cameron is that his drumming is deeply influenced by the fusion drummers of the seventies, especially Bill Bruford. Many Cameron fans may not be aware of these influences. However, Cameron’s command of groove and space demonstrates these roots. As Cameron says, “Listening to a lot of Bruford prepared me supremely to play in Soundgarden.” Cameron emphasized that (Bruford’s) placement of fives and sevens as critical to writing the drum parts for the new record.
Q: You must have a big list of drummer influences.
Brann Dailor: [...] for prog, definitely Phil Collins and Bill Bruford. [...]
Q: Who are some of your biggest influences?
Gene Hoglan: [...] Bill Bruford was a big 'un, with the 80's version of King Crimson [...]
[...] The self-taught Harris has always taken a minimalist approach to the more complex odd-meter material–until now. “Danny Carey turned me onto the drumming of Bill Bruford,” explains Harris. “Once I started checking out what Bruford was doing, and how he was constantly creating new musical ideas on the drums and exploring unique drumset configurations, it inspired me to open up my playing and explore different drumming concepts for our new music.”
Q: Which players have most influenced that aspect of your style, especially with respect to the polyrhythms?
Chris Pennie: [...] I would have to say Bill Bruford from King Crimson and Yes [...]
Bill is a great drummer and probably a very intelligent guy. He wrote a fantastic book where he’s saying many intelligent things about the music business and other musicians.
Q: You also have quite the admiration for Bill Bruford…
Adrian Younge: Oh yeah, dude he is just amazing. King Crimson and anything else he was a part of was quality work. His work on the drums was so sick dude. I love his approach because he doesn’t do too much, but the little things that he does are very syncopated and interesting. That dude just creates unique compositional soundscapes.
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King Crimson are a progressive rock band formed in 1968 in London, England. They exerted a strong influence on the early 1970s progressive rock movement and continue to inspire subsequent generations of artists from multiple music genres as well. Guitarist and primary composer Robert Fripp, the band's only remaining founding member, has acted as the driving creative force throughout its history. Although this causes him to be viewed as the band's leader, Fripp himself shuns this label. King Crimson has earned a large cult following. They were ranked No. 87 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Initially considered one of the seminal founding bands in progressive rock, the original King Crimson influenced and altered the music and approach of contemporaries such as Yes and Genesis. Despite this, Fripp in particular has often distanced himself from this genre. Crimson has drawn inspiration from a wide variety of music over the years, keeping their work fresh by incorporating elements of Classical music, jazz, folk, heavy metal, gamelan, industrial, Electronic and experimental music.
Yes are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history; nineteen musicians have been full-time members. Since June 2015, it has consisted of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison and bassist Billy Sherwood. Yes have explored several musical styles over the years, and are most notably regarded as progressive rock pioneers.
Christopher Russell Edward Squire was an English musician, singer and songwriter best known as the bassist, backing vocalist and a founding member of the progressive rock band Yes. He was the longest-serving original member, having remained in the band until his death and appearing on every studio album released from 1969 to 2014. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes.
Close to the Edge is the fifth studio album by English progressive rock band Yes, released on 13 September 1972 by Atlantic Records. It is their last album of the 1970s to feature original drummer Bill Bruford before he left to join King Crimson. After touring their previous album, Fragile, the group assembled at Advision Studios in London to record a follow-up, ideas for which had been put down since February 1972. The album marked a development in the band's songwriting, with Jon Anderson and Steve Howe writing the 18-minute title track, the band's longest song at the time. Side two contains "And You and I" and "Siberian Khatru". Bruford found the album particularly laborious to make, which influenced his decision to leave the band after it was recorded.
Relayer is the seventh studio album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released in November 1974 by Atlantic Records. After keyboardist Rick Wakeman left the group in May 1974 over disagreements with the band's direction following their double concept album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), Yes entered rehearsals as a four-piece in Buckinghamshire. They auditioned several musicians, including Greek keyboardist and composer Vangelis, before settling with Swiss musician Patrick Moraz of Refugee who incorporated elements of funk and jazz fusion to the album. Relayer is formed of three tracks, with "The Gates of Delirium" on side one and "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" on side two.
Larks' Tongues in Aspic is the fifth studio album by the English progressive rock group King Crimson, released on 23 March 1973 through Island Records in the UK and Atlantic Records in the United States and Canada. This album is the debut of King Crimson's third incarnation, featuring co-founder and guitarist Robert Fripp along with four new members: bass guitarist and vocalist John Wetton, violinist and keyboardist David Cross, percussionist Jamie Muir, and drummer Bill Bruford. It is a key album in the band's evolution, drawing on Eastern European classical music and European free improvisation as central influences.
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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe were a progressive rock band active from 1988 to 1990 that comprised four past members of the English progressive rock band Yes. Singer Jon Anderson left Yes as he felt increasingly constrained by their commercial and pop-oriented direction in the 1980s. He began an album with other members from the band's 1970s era: guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and drummer Bill Bruford, plus bassist Tony Levin.
Patrick Philippe Moraz is a Swiss musician, film composer and songwriter best known for his tenures as keyboardist in the rock bands Yes and The Moody Blues.
John Kenneth Wetton was an English singer, bassist, guitarist, and songwriter. He was born in Willington, Derbyshire, and grew up in Bournemouth, Dorset. Between 1972- 1982, he rose to fame fronting the bands King Crimson, U.K. and Asia. Notable work as a bass guitarist and backing vocalist included brief stints with Family, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash.
Jamie Muir is a Scottish painter and former musician, best known for his work as the percussionist in King Crimson from 1972-1973.
Bill Bruford's Earthworks were a British jazz band led by drummer Bill Bruford. The band recorded several albums for Editions EG, Discipline Global Mobile and Summerfold Records.
Fragile is the fourth studio album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 26 November 1971 by Atlantic Records. It was the band's first album to feature keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who replaced founding member Tony Kaye after the group had finished touring their breakthrough record, The Yes Album.
This is a timeline of artists, albums, and events in progressive rock and its subgenres. This article contains the timeline for the period 1970–1979.
This is a timeline of artists, albums, and events in progressive rock and its subgenres. This article contains the timeline for the period 1990 - 1999.
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