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Random Acts Of Happiness

Bill Bruford

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Album Review

Bill Bruford's reputation might lie on his past work with prog rock bands like Yes and King Crimson, but these days he's completely at home in the amorphous world of modern jazz. This live album shows that he and his band have developed their own strong sound, centered around the sax, flute, and bass clarinet work of the remarkably talented Tim Garland and the piano of Steve Hamilton, who play off and support each other perfectly (just listen to their work on "White Knuckle Wedding," for instance). That's not to lessen the impact of bassist Mark Hodgson and Bruford himself. All four parts of the quartet interlock vitally. At times they sound fairly mainstream and smooth, as on "Tra Montana," and melody is always at the core of what they do. But they're not afraid to push the edges, as on "Modern Folk," with its sharp changes, both in key and rhythm. Bruford also uses Polynesian log drums, sparingly but to great effect, especially on "Speaking With Wooden Tongues." The bonus track, "Blues for Little Joe" is also well-worth hearing: it's a tortuous, exciting ride that highlights the skills of each member in the demands it makes, and a perfect end to an accomplished, distinctive album.

Biography

Born: 17 May 1949 in Sevenoaks, Kent, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Bill Bruford's career is like his drumming sound — inimitable. Known for his ringing metal snare drum, crisp cymbal work, and knack for complex time signatures, a young Bruford came to prominence in the late '60s with Yes. The drummer completed his British art rock trilogy by briefly joining Genesis in the 1970s and spending a quarter-century with King Crimson through the late '90s. In between King Crimson dates, Bruford led a dazzling self-titled jazz fusion solo band from 1978 to 1980. Featuring...
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Random Acts Of Happiness, Bill Bruford
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