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Thread: Bruford's Gradually Going Tornado- First Impressions

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Bruford's Gradually Going Tornado- First Impressions

    Any Bruford fans in the house? Of course there are! Here's a different kind of 'reaction video'. Each week my friend Vaylor digs into and album he missed the first time around. This week it's a less hailed album by the Bruford band. It's not the first album most people grab when getting into this group, but worthwhile once you have the first two. Which Vaylor did.... I weigh in with a quick 70s Bill Bruford primer, and a bit more... The music for this week's episode was written and played by Vaylor. A nod to Jeff Berlin's "Joe Frazier"......

    Fill us in about when you first heard GGT and how it stacks up against the first two Bruford albums for you.




    We're on a bit of a Dave Stewart roll here. Next week we look at National Health's second album.

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    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Nice analysis. Not my favorite but there are some very good passages that reclaim some of the weak spots.
    I saw them with Clark on that tour ( 1980 ) and he did a really good job.
    I saw them also in 79 at Louie's rock city and I don't remember who the guitarist was. Probably Clark.
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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Jeff Berlin is awesome, and fills in where ever it's possible.
    The others are somewhat more anonymous on this one.

    I was dissapointed when I heard it first time.
    Now I just think its a different kind of band and album on it's own premises.

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    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    GGT is a once in every three years album. I agree that the tunes, except Joe Frazier, are mostly not memorable.


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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    I saw them with Clark on that tour ( 1980 ) and he did a really good job.
    I saw them also in 79 at Louie's rock city and I don't remember who the guitarist was. Probably Clark.
    Holdsworth left before they'd played any North American (or continental European) tour - "The Bruford Tapes" was recorded at, iirc, their 2nd or 3rd US gig. He only did a British tour with them. It was John Clark beginning in late April 1979.
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    Parrots ripped my flesh Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Peacock is actually American.

    I like this one just a notch less than the other two records, but apparently a few notches higher than most people on here.

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    Member proggy_jazzer's Avatar
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    Pretty sure I actually heard GGT before either of the two that preceded it, and I listened to it a lot. I think Clark does an admirable job of filling the huge shoes of AH, but for me the absence of Holdsworth allows more focus on Dave Stewart's excellent sounds and playing. Berlin's voice is okay, and he delivers the lyrics with clarity, but I could have done with a little less of it. His duet with Bruford on piano is for me one of the strongest moments on the album.
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    I heard this when it was just out and after I was well aquaninted with the other two. I was a bit disappointed with it, partly because of the recording quaility and partly because of Jeff's singing. I read an interview with Bill at the time of release and he said he was fed up with the in-studio tinkering he'd spent so long on with the first two and wanted to make an album that was more spontaneous so it was recorded 'live in the studio' in a minimum number of takes. While the playing doesn't suffer, I've always thought this one sounds a bit muffled by comparison. I'd skip Age of Information and the Sliding floor, but the rest is excellent -favourites would be Gothic 17 where I actually like Jeff's vocal and Land's End which is the closest they came to being National Health.

    Jeff went off into jazz-rock land and I hadn't taken any notice of his releases until recently when I discovered his album 'Random Misfires' which I really love. He plays drums throughout and they are all instrumental short tracks with memorabel tunes and no jazz-rock tendancies anywhere.

    https://jeffberlin.bandcamp.com/album/random-misfires

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by alanterrill View Post
    I heard this when it was just out and after I was well aquaninted with the other two. I was a bit disappointed with it, partly because of the recording quaility and partly because of Jeff's singing. I read an interview with Bill at the time of release and he said he was fed up with the in-studio tinkering he'd spent so long on with the first two and wanted to make an album that was more spontaneous so it was recorded 'live in the studio' in a minimum number of takes. While the playing doesn't suffer, I've always thought this one sounds a bit muffled by comparison. I'd skip Age of Information and the Sliding floor, but the rest is excellent -favourites would be Gothic 17 where I actually like Jeff's vocal and Land's End which is the closest they came to being National Health.

    Jeff went off into jazz-rock land and I hadn't taken any notice of his releases until recently when I discovered his album 'Random Misfires' which I really love. He plays drums throughout and they are all instrumental short tracks with memorabel tunes and no jazz-rock tendancies anywhere.

    https://jeffberlin.bandcamp.com/album/random-misfires
    This is a different Jeff Berlin - not the bass player from Bruford.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcdonap View Post
    This is a different Jeff Berlin - not the bass player from Bruford.
    Sorry! Didn't realise there were two. I was searching on Bandcamp for Jack Songs and came across this. A happy accident.

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    Favorite Bruford is "One of a Kind"...hands down!! Holdsworth is awesome on it and BB is superb!

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    She(peacock) ruins it for me....not a fan of her vocals

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davef View Post
    She(peacock) ruins it for me....not a fan of her vocals
    You're in luck! She's not singing on this particular album. The vocals on this one might make you appreciate Annette's more though...

  14. #14
    Loved GGT on first listen. Thought it was fun, exciting and full of life. I applauded the vigor with which JB approached his vocal duties - felt like he was paying homage to Jack Bruceís singing in a way that seemed respectful and appropriate to me. Liked all the writing, not the best sound quality but not a deal-breaker. I enjoyed how different it was from the first two albums - I had loved Feels Good To Me, but One Of A Kind felt a little turgid and going-thru-the-motions-y in comparison to it, so I thought GGT was a real valid step in a new sort of pop-prog-fusion direction.

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    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    One of a Kind,,, period.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeneally View Post
    but One Of A Kind felt a little turgid and going-thru-the-motions-y in comparison to it.
    Iím not disagreeing, but Iíd like to understand how OoaK was going-thru-the-motions?


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    Parrots ripped my flesh Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeneally View Post
    I applauded the vigor with which JB approached his vocal duties - felt like he was paying homage to Jack Bruce’s singing in a way that seemed respectful and appropriate to me.
    I'm not necessarily saying it's what he was going for, but I thought his vocals had a bit of Joe Williams vibe to them.

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    I actually very much like Berlin's vocals maybe because he does enunciate so clearly and because the lyrics are intelligent and memorable throughout. So many great lines among them e.g., "if experts, preachers, mystics can't find the answer then how the hell should I know?"

    Now that I think about it GGT may be my favorite Bruford. It would be a close call between GGT and FGTM. I agree with the comment about how the departure of Holdsworth gives Dave Stewart more of the spotlight and I think he does some magical things with that.

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    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    We have a look at the second National Health album, coming up Friday....

  20. #20
    I'm a big fan of Bruford and I picked up GGT when it first came out. For me it's not as consistent as Feels Good To Me & One Of A Kind but it does have some good tunes. My favorites on it are "Age Of Information", "Plans For J.D." & "Gothic 17".

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    Quote Originally Posted by proggy_jazzer View Post
    Pretty sure I actually heard GGT before either of the two that preceded it, and I listened to it a lot. I think Clark does an admirable job of filling the huge shoes of AH, but for me the absence of Holdsworth allows more focus on Dave Stewart's excellent sounds and playing. Berlin's voice is okay, and he delivers the lyrics with clarity, but I could have done with a little less of it. His duet with Bruford on piano is for me one of the strongest moments on the album.
    Your comment about Clark, made me wonder what he did after Bruford, and I was surprised to find he became the guitarist in Cliff Richard's backing band for many years and a few studio sessions for others, but nothing in the prog or jazz rock genres.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    We have a look at the second National Health album, coming up Friday....
    Nice, because of Land's End of Gradually Going Tornado has some quotes from National Health's Bryden 2-Step for Amphibians from Of Queues and Cures.

  23. #23
    It's ok. Berlin's voice isn't the end of the world.

    I still dislike the hyper-digital soundcoat of it and the "reworkings" of material from Of Queues & Cures, but the new stuff falls in between and does the job although less so than FGtM and OoaK.
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Boceephus View Post
    Iím not disagreeing, but Iíd like to understand how OoaK was going-thru-the-motions?


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    Totally subjective obviously, but to me FGTM felt much more like a band grooving together and inventing a vocabulary, and OOAK felt more labored and pieced-together to my ears, and somehow didnít GROOVE as hardÖI have no idea if this is true, but it felt to me like Berlin and Bedford tracked more things simultaneously on the first album and ebbed and flowed together, and in the second record the grooves feel more halting, and it felt to me like they recorded more of the stuff separately. The second album didnít elevate my soul effortlessly the way the first one did. But I need to hear it again (itís been a long time - seems like a lifetime ago) as itís quite possible I just wasnít ready for its subtleties then - maybe things that felt awkward to me then were just so sophisticated I couldnít get to where it was at (eg. first time I heard Joeís Garage Acts 2 & 3 I had NO idea what Vinnie was all about! It just puzzled the holy hell out of me. Innovators do that sometimes).

  25. #25
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    You're in luck! She's not singing on this particular album. The vocals on this one might make you appreciate Annette's more though...
    QUOTE OF THE WEEK!!!

    I am truly laughing out loud, Sean!

    (As far as the topic, I really like the album, but like many people, prefer the first two albums.)

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