15 titles on 20 audio and 4 DVD discs document the 20 year history from 1987 to 2006 of one of the UK’s brightest, most travelled and best loved young jazz ensembles. Featuring Bill Bruford with Iain Ballamy, Django Bates, Patrick Clahar, Laurence Cottle, Tim Garland, Steve Hamilton, Tim Harries, Mark Hodgson, Mick Hutton, Gwilym Simcock. All audio, visual and print materials compiled and curated by Bill Bruford. Additional original artwork by award-winning illustrator, photographer and filmmaker Dave McKean. 8 bonus tracks.
Born in 1949, Bill Bruford is one the UK’s most celebrated drummers in the rock and jazz fields playing most notably with Yes & King Crimson and this new box set focuses on the band he started in 1986, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks which collects pretty much everything they did until he disbanded the group in 2008. The ensemble went through two distinct periods, the first of which featured Django Bates (keys, trumpet and horn) and Iain Ballamy (sax).
The first four discs cover the ‘Mark 1’ band. ‘Earthworks’, the group’s first offering in 1987, was named the “third best jazz album of the year” by America’s USA Today. Their third album ‘All Heaven Broke Loose’ was well received on its release. One review said: “Full of unpredictability, subtle mood changes, touches of eccentric funk and a surprisingly creative use of electronic rhythms...”. After a live album, ‘Stamping Ground’, the band broke up and Bruford returned to King Crimson (he played with them back in the 1970s) and also worked in the jazz and fusion fields.
He formed a new version of Earthworks in 1997 featuring Steve Hamilton (keyboards) and Patrick Clahar (saxophones), the band’s live work led to the release of the album ‘A Part and yet Apart’ in 1999. Electronic percussion made way for the warmer looser style of the more conventional sax-piano-bass-drums line up, and Bruford continued to bring the best of the young British players to the attention of a rapidly growing international audience. By the time Bruford ended the band in 2008 the line up was Gwilym Simcock (piano & keyboards), Tim Garland (saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute) & Laurence Cottle (bass guitar).
Bill retired from performing in 2009 to concentrate on writing his autobiography and a return to study and in 2016, Bruford earned a PhD in Music at the University of Surrey.