Bruford Levin Upper Extremities / Bill Bruford / Tony Levin

Upper Extremities

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Bill Bruford and Tony Levin were the mainstays of the 1980s and 1990s King Crimson, one of rock's most consistently creative groups, and together are among the best rhythm sections in rock music. They played with David Torn on Torn's 1987 release Clouds About Mercury, and in 1998 they got together with him again. As on Clouds, they formed a quartet with a trumpeter, but instead of Mark Isham they enlisted Chris Botti, since Levin had worked on Botti's 1997 Midnight Without You release. On about half the tracks, Bruford, Levin and Torn display a high-energy rock music, like the opening "Cerulean Sea," with Torn and Bruford playing in polyrhythms, and "Cracking the Midnight Glass," a powerful piece with echoes of Led Zeppelin that Bruford calls "the power trio incarnate." The three also play some quiet, atmospheric music on "Thick With Thin Air," which is also one of the showpieces here for Bruford's electronic drums. Chris Botti plays on the other half, and provides them with a cool jazz feeling. His melodic work is highlighted on the jazzy Bruford composition "Original Sin" and in a lovely duet with Levin on "Fin de Si├Ęcle," but his trumpet adds coloring in the fanfares of "Presidents Day," the haunting lead of "Deeper Blue," and the reprise of an etude from Levin's solo album World Diary. There are also a number of short interludes of Bruford playing a derelict piano in Levin's garage, and both Bruford and Levin simultaneously playing a drum and bass contraption.

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