Bill Bruford / Bill Bruford's Earthworks

A Part, And Yet Apart

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When Bill Bruford led his jazz-oriented Earthworks combo in the '80s and '90s, jazz supporters were hoping that he was turning a lot of rockers on to jazz. After all, he had been Yes' drummer from 1968-1972 and was highly regarded by progressive rock lovers. And, to be sure, some Yes fans bought Earthworks CDs simply because it was Bruford's band. Of course, A Part, And Yet Apart is a long way from the music Bruford played on classic Yes albums like Fragile and Close to the Edge (which was his last album with the band -- by the time Tales from Topographic Oceans was recorded in 1973, Alan White had become Yes' drummer). This is acoustic-oriented jazz, and the playing of Bruford and his Earthworks sidemen Patrick Clahar (tenor and soprano sax), Steve Hamilton (piano, keyboards) and Mark Hodgson (acoustic bass) is swinging and mostly straight-ahead. For those who knew Bruford for his aggressive, high-decibel work on "Roundabout" and "Siberian Khatru," it's interesting to hear all the nuances and reflections of intellectual post-bop pieces like "Sarah's Still Life," "Some Shiver, While He Cavorts" and "Curiouser and Curiouser." The material isn't cutting-edge or innovative -- most of it isn't unlike what post-boppers were doing before Bruford joined Yes in 1968. But it's likable, and the drummer has a cohesive and competent unit in Earthworks. [A Japanese version added a bonus track.]

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