I was going to have All Heaven Let Loose by Bill Bruford’s Earthworks as my album of the month for March but it’s not available on Spotify and there’s not much point writing about music my readers can’t listen to. So, instead, I’m going back to Bill Bruford’s first release as a solo artist, Feels Good To Me.
Of course, Bill Bruford is a drummer but Feels Good To Me isn’t an album of drum solos; Bill put together a band. It was a jazz/rock band consisting of Alan Holdsworth on guitar, Dave Stewart on keyboards, Jeff Berlin on bass and Bruford himself on several forms of percussion. The four of them create a sound reminiscent of Brand X and, indeed, John Goodsall features as a guest on the album, but the addition of Annette Peacock’s evocative vocals on three tracks gives a whole new dimension to the work.
Listening to this album again has reminded me that Bill Bruford’s compositions are at the very centre of my musical tastes. Bruford has worked with all my favourite prog rock bands: Yes, Genesis and King Crimson. For his own band he chose musicians from jazz/rock outfits Soft Machine and Brand X, both of which feature prominently in my CD collection. And his later Earthworks band helped to introduce me to contemporary jazz musicians such as Django Bates and Iain Ballamy.
As you might expect from a percussionist the tracks are rhythmically complex but there are also some compelling tunes and brilliant performances from every member of the band. If jazz at the edge of rock appeals to you this album is a must.