Personnel: Bill Bruford (spoken vocals, drums, cymbals, percussion); Jeff Berlin (vocals, bass); Sam Alder, Anthea Norman-Taylor (spoken vocals); Allan Holdsworth, John Clark (guitar); Patrick Moraz (piano); Dave Stewart (keyboards). Producers: Ron Malo, Robin Lumley, Patrick Moraz, Bill Bruford. This stunning collection represents the best of the solo excursions by master British drummer Bill Bruford. After his tenure with the seminal prog-rock group Yes and between various regroupings of King Crimson, Bruford has found time to maintain an impressive solo career, mostly in the jazz/rock fusion vein. As this collection demonstrates, Bruford is as musically sensitive as he is adventurous. The main thread that runs through these works is that, although Bruford certainly provides plenty of rhythmic intrigue with everything he plays, this is not necessarily drum-centric music. Instead, most tunes feature intense ensemble work dappled with spots of remarkable solo efforts. Also, sprinkled here and there are brief gems like Bruford’s duets with pianist Patrick Moraz and his interpretation of Max Roach’s “The Drum Also Waltzes” solo. Other worthy cuts include the opening “Hell’s Bells,” the energetic “Beelzebub,” and the off-kilter “Fainting In Coils,” which opens with a bizarre narration.

Featured Album

Raymond Gomez – Volume

When listening to Volume, it soon becomes evident that Ray Gomez gets more soul, more feel, and more tone, than any other guitar player on the planet. Add in impeccable placed notes with “Albert King-like” timing, the album represents guitar playing that is hard to beat. Something else that needs to be said, Ray “rocks”. He is very keen on the groove within a song. Besides blistering leads, Ray keeps funk and rock groove rhythm in his playing. One could listen to Blues for Mez or West Side Boogie and say, “Well, there’s killer blues being played, funk being played, and a steady rockin’ groove. In essence, Ray Gomez is nothing short of a powerhouse. He gets more out of a guitar than is almost humanly possible, yet he does not overplay. Ray has the uncanny ability to play exactly what is needed for a song, yet with innovation, feel, and soaring power. U.S.A. is actually my favorite song on the record. It also establishes another front — that Ray is a damn good song writer and composer. Volume is a hidden gem that needs to be rediscovered. It’s still relevant and fresh today as it was when first released. Charles Wilson

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