Tag Archives: Bill Bruford

and the time is…then

After their eponymous debut, Yes  released “Time and a Word” in summer 1970.

The line-up was unchanged, but this time the album features a brass and strings orchestra on almost every track, which leaves the listener with a more Progressive Rock sound, pointing towards the future Yes. They were thinking about using a Mellotron but the idea was dropped and Mellotron would not be introduced to a Yes album until Tony Kaye would be replaced by Rick Wakeman

Then

 

The album opens with a Richie Havens cover of “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”, a track that showcase the entire album quite well even though it is not a Yes original. Together with “The Prophet” and “Astral Traveller” the tracks that most clearly shows the direction towards Symphonic Rock Yes was heading for.

Yes cover of “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”

Richie Havens 1968 original of “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed” from his 2nd album “Something Else Again”

Production wise as well as artistically, I guess most Yes lovers would agree that the two early albums stands out as the weakest of the 70’s catalogue at least up to Tormato. Personally though I find “Time and a World” to be clearly the better of the two. Without being perfect I believe the orchestra addition works quite well and overall the album contains quite a few strong tunes.

Time and a Word may sound very cheesy especially to those that prefer their rock to be hard and punchy but when in the right mood I find it to be a fine song.

There was increasing tension between Peter Banks and the Band, mostly due to his opposition against the use of orchestra and the direction the music was taking, something he felt would reduce his options as a guitarist and he left the band or rather was sacked, before the album hit the record stores. This provided an absurd situation where the US cover featured a picture of the band with future guitarist Steve Howe although he was not playing on the album and not mentioned in the credits.

TimeAndAWordUS

On a side note there was another important contributor to the album, David Foster a long-time friend to Jon Anderson who was playing with Jon in The Warriors, a band that also included Ian Wallace who would later join King Crimson playing on their “Islands” album and Live recordings from 1971-1972.

David Foster sings on “Sweet Dreams” and plays acoustic guitar on “Time and a Word” he also co-wrote both tracks.

At this 1967 clip of The Warriors – Jon Anderson have taken over lead vocal after his brother Tony who left in late 1965.

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The Genesis of Yes

Yes was formed in London 1968. Singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire wanted to create a music that combined strong vocal harmonies ala Simon and Garfunkel, with a potent beat music. They recruited guitarist Peter Banks, keyboard player Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford to form a five piece and start rehearsing.

Yes covered Simon and Garfunkel’s America on the collection “The New Age of Atlantic” (1972), it was later included on Yes first compilation album Yesterdays (1975)

Personally amongst my absolute favorite Yes tracks.

Now back to the beginning again (pun intended). Yes played a number of important gigs, amongst those  opening for Creams  and Janis Joplin both in Royal Albert Hall, after that they signed with Atlantic in spring 1969. The first single “Sweetness” was soon released and in July 1969 the debut album “Yes” was released in UK a bit later in US.

US ALBUM COVER:

“Yes” is very far from the albums that would later raise the band to ultimate success as Symphonic Rock’s unchallenged masters. The style is a complex but relative straight version of beat music with a few hints to psych and a little Jazz inspiration in Brufords drumming. That said it definitely has many smaller hints of great potential.

On tracks like Beatles cover “Every Little Thing”, opener “Beyond and Before”, “Looking Around” and “Survival” they do find that fine mix of great vocals and a potent beat music they wanted.

On a song like the short, simple and very beautiful “Yesterday and Today” Anderson shows the emotional debt of his vocal.

What may be the most evident issue when you listen to the album retrospectively is that the band is still looking for something that they haven’t found yet, making this album interesting but mostly as a transition album from the late 60’s psychedelic beat/rock towards something yet undefined but soon to come.

Anderson, Squire, Bill Bruford’s “Harold Land” may not be my favorite track here, but maybe the one pointing mostly in the “right” direction.

 

Discipline & Indiscipline

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
Time to dance the Fripp.
Sometimes when I think of something to be just too great, its often something I have listened too many many times. Then I also think everyone else has and know all about it, as if it was The Beatles, Pink Floyd or Mozart. The thing is, that may often not be the case, just because I know Discipline by King Crimson, and have listened to it crazy many times, it’s not the case for everyone. If You dont, here is the chance to change that.
An album elevating the consept of Rock Music.
Elephant Talk

Stylistically the new King Crimson, is a style of music in its own, explored over three albums in the early 80’s. Having some connection what Talking Heads, David Bowie and Peter Gabriel did at the same time, but with a level of complexity on one side and minimalism on the other, that is very King Crimson, and especialy this short lived version of King Crimson.
Frame By Frame (Live version from 1984)

After dropping King Crimson in 1974, Fripp did a lot of other things for the duration of the 70’s, but in 1980 he called King Crimson ex. drummer Bill Bruford, to form a new band called Discipline, they agreed to do something together. Fripp called guitarist Adrian Belew, at the time known for his work with Frank Zappa, Talking Heads and David Bowie, Belew was happy to be part of the team, he was younger, and knew of Fripp and Bruford as Progressive Rock giants.
Discipline (Live In Japan 1984)

Fripp and Bruford went to New York, making auditions for a Bass player, a tape with a recording of a 17/8 riff, was played during audition, as to check if the bassist’s would be Discipline materiel, they should be able to play the riff. On the 3.rd day of audition Tony Levin came in, Fripp knew him from playing together at Peter Gabriel’s albums I II and III, the case was settled, Fripp later commented, that he would have expected Tony to be too busy; otherwise he would have called him without hesitation. Levin was known to also play the Chapman stick, something that would suit the project very well.
Indiscipline (live 1982)

Even though Fripp was unsure about the idear of renaming the Project, King Crimson, the Americans did not like “Discipline”, as that was not a term ringing well in their ears, not friendly, and Bruford would agree : Robert will talk endlessly about icons and things, but to us plain Englishmen it just seems a very good idea. In the end while still touring, they changed the band name from Discipline to King Crimson. The album was released in September 1981
The Sheltering Sky (live, 1982)

Bruford – Plays the Jazz drums.

Bill Bruford have been a dominant figure in Progressive Rock, taking part in a lot of projects, especialy known for his work on what most consider the highlights of Yes albums from 1969-1972, ”Fragile” ”Close to the Edge” ect.ect. ; But what i will talk about today, is Bruford as a Jazz drummer.
From ”A Part, and Yet Apart” 1999

Bruford started his recordings of Jazz albums in 1978 with ”Feels Good to Me”, his solo project with a supergroup of tallented musicians, guitarist Allan Holdsworth, vocalist Annette Peacock, and other notable names. The album was in an experimental fusion style.
From ”A Part, and Yet Apart” 1999

Bruford continued his work with fussion Jazz over a series of albums under the ”Bruford” band name, before reforming King Crimson from 1981-1984, then started a new Jazz band in 1987, Earthworks.
It was with Earthworks, that he graduately moved towards a more traditional style of Jazz.
”From Feels Good To Me” 1978