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Thread: AAJ Review: Bill Bruford, Earthworks Complete

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: Bill Bruford, Earthworks Complete



    My review of Bill Bruford's Earthworks Complete Box set, today at All About Jazz.

    Since retiring as a professional musician in 2009, progressive/art rock turned jazz drummer Bill Bruford has successfully managed to maintained a place in the public eye. Beyond his engaging, informative and successful Bill Bruford: The Autobiography (Jawbone Press, 2009), the drummer/percussionist has more recently released a second, equally captivating book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer (University of Michigan Press, 2018).

    Initially stemming from the success of his autobiography but since assuming a life of its own (and no surprise, given Bruford's wit and erudite eloquence), a second career as a public speaker means that, while he may be enjoying the more relaxed pace of retirement, Bruford's name remains both visible and relevant. A third career path has been ensuring that his discography as a leader/co-leader remains available, with Bruford commencing a series of reissue box sets with 2017's six-CD/two-DVD Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Gonzo Multimedia), which documents his first band as a leader, simply titled: Bruford.

    Following the more bite-sized, three-CD/one-DVD box set reissue of the entire recorded output from Bruford's relatively short-lived improvising duo with Dutch pianist/keyboardist Michiel Borstlap earlier this year, Sheer Reckless Abandon (Summerfold Records), Earthworks Complete now comes as a far more extensive, 24-disc collection (twenty CDs/four DVDs), documenting the drummer's longest-lasting group, and his final major creative focus until the year before he retired.

    First garnering attention with Yes, recording and touring with the band from 1969's eponymous Atlantic Records debut though Close to the Edge (Atlantic, 1972), Bruford left the group that same year and on the cusp of considerably greater commercial success to join up with Robert Fripp in the guitarist's newly minted lineup of King Crimson.

    Continue reading here....
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
    If you don't have these discs, this is essential.

  3. #3
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I really couldn't justify springing for this box only to get the Conception and Santiago material, but reading about it sent me into a mini-Earthworks binge anyway.

    I spent some time over the last two evenings converting the audio from the video anthologies into audio files that I can play on my audio systems.

  4. #4
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    ...and wouldn't you know it, now they're starting to rerelease the older albums, and to add insult to injury to those of us who already have everything and who couldn't justify buying the box, they include bonus tracks.

    I did notice, though, that the Santiago disc from the box can now be gotten separately, albeit only as a download. Do I buy the download, or do I hold out hoping for a physical release?

  5. #5
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    I think the bonus tracks are also on the boxset with the respective album. So its like the boxset is being carved up

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  6. #6
    I hadn't heard "No Truce With The Furies" in years and just listened to that track not too long ago and remembered why I loved it and that record so much.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  7. #7
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    I think the bonus tracks are also on the boxset with the respective album. So its like the boxset is being carved up

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    I'd buy a smaller box set that consisted of everything that was newly released in the box set, without all the previously-released stuff.

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    Hear ya for sure

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    I already owned about half the discs, but sprang for the Earthworks Complete box anyway. I think it was only $80 or $85, which made it only $8 or $9 per disc that I didn't have. I'm very glad I did it, a lot of the live material is really great, surpassing what is on the studio discs. Anyway nice that you can now buy individual discs again but if you need to buy several you might be just as well off buying the entire box.

  10. #10
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    From the clips on Amazon it sounds as though the 2002 Santiago material isn't stereo. Is that the case?
    Last edited by Dave (in MA); 1 Week Ago at 10:51 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    From the clips on Amazon it sounds as though the 2002 Santiago material isn't stereo. Is that the case?
    I'd have to go back and check, but I believe you may be correct.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  12. #12
    The eons are closing
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    I still may purchase this, but I was very underwhelmed by the "Bruford" boxset both in physical esthetic and the contents therein.

    As such, unlike other Bill related matters, I have not jumped at this.

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