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Does this edition contain any extra material compared to the edition? See 1 question about Bill Bruford - The Autobiography…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. Sort order. Jun 23, Dan'l Danehy-oakes rated it really liked it. This is, quite possibly, the best autobio I have read by a popular musician. Bruford meanders back and forth along a vaguely-chronological path from his first public appearance at 14 to his retirement from public p This is, quite possibly, the best autobio I have read by a popular musician.
Bruford meanders back and forth along a vaguely-chronological path from his first public appearance at 14 to his retirement from public performance at 59, with stops at Yes and King Crimson, Genesis and Earthworks, a path that led from solo practice to rock to progressive rock to electric rock to jazz - with, again, meanders back and forth between them as when the not-quite-newly-minted jazz drummer returned to play with the "double-trio" version of King Crimson in the mid-'90s.
He comments a little on the personalities he's worked with, but this is no dish-o-rama; his colleagues are treated, each and all, with respect. Perhaps the closest thing to a snark in the book is this comment on guitarist Robert Fripp: "On a good night, the seated man appeared unhappy about something, and on a bad night unhappy about everything. Even if you have no interest in Bruford's music, either in rock or in jazz, this is a fascinating read. May 12, Joe Richards rated it really liked it.
As has been well documented, this is less an autobiography than a study of what it takes and means to be a professional musician. It's a fascinating insight into the industry, in which Bruford examines the mechanics of business and the nature of the relationships between performer, co-performer, audience, producer, manager and of course family.
Bruford speaks candidly about these relationships, and his clinical honesty reflects the scientific nature of his mind. He writes with well-deserved conf As has been well documented, this is less an autobiography than a study of what it takes and means to be a professional musician.
He writes with well-deserved confidence in his percussive achievements but also a growing sense of self-doubt and humility. Occasionally a sense of bitterness cuts through, whether in relation to a particular ill-fated tour or performance, or the conduct of another musician, but the reaction belies the seriousness with which he approaches his profession.
It becomes clear that drumming is exactly that to Bruford - a profession. Fans of Yes, King Crimson et al will certainly find frequent mention to his time spent in these bands, but keen drummers hoping for an insight into his playing may find it lacking.
Overall, it is simply a remarkably well-written study of what it takes to live the life of Bill Bruford, and it appears to take a lot. Mar 28, Mike O'Brien rated it really liked it. Bruford's autobiography is much more than the story of his life, it's a laying bear of his philosophy of music as well as a fascinating account of the changing face of the music business.
Well worth a read, especially if you are a musician. Mar 13, Pavlo rated it really liked it Shelves: rereads. And there is a tension here that every musician will recognize, between tradition and creation, between the firm sense of musical tradition that has to be preserved, documented, refined, and elaborated, and is personified by someone like trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, as distinct from the equally firm belief in the value of creativity and the importance of the new, fresh, and original.
Perhaps talent is the difference between playing the notes "Talent may never actually be in your possession at all.
Perhaps talent is the difference between playing the notes 'correctly' and playing music, between technical skill and musical skill.
Perhaps musical talent is no more or less than the ability to be recognised as musically talented. This dovetails closely with discussions of art and craft, and the distinctions between the two. A] craftsman knows what he is doing: when a carpener sets out to build a chair, he's pretty sure he'll get a functioning chari at the end of the process. An artist [ In many ways, the artist is less employable, because he can only do it one way, his way; not because he is being obtuse or difficult, but because it must be done that way, otherwise he cannot sleep at night.
The romantic notion is that he is dominated and consumed by his art. Music begins where language leaves off. Great music invariably has something beyond the personal about it, because it depends on an inner ordering process, which is largely unconscious and thus not deliberately willed by the composer.
This ordering process is something to be wooed, encouraged, waited for, or prayed for. You can prepare yourself for music, but you cannot force its appearance. You might want to prepare yourself for music to enter your house, by working on your technical abilities, by stilling your mind, by tidying up a bit, so music may pick your house to visit.
Sometimes it doesn't visit, and I'm sure we've all been to, or, worse, played at musical events where music stubbornly refuses to appear despite the striking of many notes. The shit ain't happenin', as some would say. Desperation sets in. We play faster, louder, turn up and thereby ensure music won't come visiting for a long while. Because we love music. Aug 04, Otto Lehto rated it really liked it. Bill Bruford, I have to admit, has fascinated me ever since I got into progressive rock.
This guy played in King Crimson! And Yes! AND Genesis, too! As it turns out, Bill is an outspoken and well-mannered English gentleman with a lot to say about music, life on the road and the changing seasons of pop, rock and jazz music. Even as someone who fosters no love, just indifference and lack of exposure, to his pet project, the jazz group Earthworks, which takes a very prominent role in the book t Bill Bruford, I have to admit, has fascinated me ever since I got into progressive rock.
Even as someone who fosters no love, just indifference and lack of exposure, to his pet project, the jazz group Earthworks, which takes a very prominent role in the book towards the end, the book never becomes boring. The insider's view into the "business" and profit-making of jazz music provides ample food for though to the initiated and uninitiated alike, although some passion - in the hidden depths of the sacred art of music - is required to sympathize with the tortuous path of the jazz warrior.
The book rises above your mama's average biography by being well-written and hardly ghostwritten , and also by the amount of insight it sheds on the psychology and sociology of a world class drummer struggling to come to terms with self-identity and the notion of "leaving something behind" in an age of fierce global competition.
Art is business. Part humorous, part melancholy, the darker side of the craft is exposed, rhythmically, to the sunlight. Written at the dawn of his retirement, the book is part self-catharsis and part well-mannered, calculated outburst the sort you would expect a polite, middle class father and family man from Kent to deliver , a riddled repository of a long life of observations.
There is rhythm, too, in the cut-and-paste feel of the book's meandering and jumping observations. As is proper to a jazz player, there is not so much a premeditated structure but a series of juxtaposed themes that run through the whole book, waxing and waning, foregrounded and backgrounded, in their turn. There is mastery in the pen as much as in the drum stick. At pages, densely packed, the book is certainly a modestly demanding heavy-weighter. Luckily the diary-like oscillation between the many elements - the psychological insight, the historical musings, treatises on the nature of music, observations about the primate psychology of his band mates, frightening references to Robert Fripp, etc - provides a pleasant mixture of loud and soft, fortissimo and pianissimo, neatly separated into roughly page chunks chapters.
The jazz-like nature of the book's outline betrays a complexity of composition. As Bruford himself writes: "Arnold Schoenberg allegedly maintained that 'all composition is just very slow improvisation', and we [jazz musicians? Ideally, the listener cannot hear the join between the two - the composed sounds improvised and the improvised sounds composed.
There are only two major faults with the book being the nasty reason for the deduction of the star that shines brightest in the score : 1 Insufficient track-by-track insight into the drum parts of the classic King Crimson and Yes days.
How did they do that thing in Discipline? This fault he readily admits and claims to have no interest in such details. But the reader does. This kind of excessive baggage should have been cut and the book would have been a perfect page package. But surprisingly it feels more like a page book, even with its extra baggage.
Overall, recommended reading for anyone interest in progressive rock, drumming or just high-craft musicianship. The book performs a somewhat meandering but masterful exercise in textual jazzing - a study of the rhythms of one's life story - that only a dedicated musician could give. For a fan of "the Might Crim" - or of the early history of "Yes" - this book is a goldmine.
Apr 25, Paul Dembina rated it it was amazing. Jan 26, Mark rated it it was amazing Shelves: recentlyread.
A different beat
This is an absolutely brilliant book. Yes in concert At which point, just as Yes were about to tour the album round the US and go supernova, Bill left the band to join their rival in progressive rock, the far darker and more experimental King Crimson. Led by guitar maestro Robert Fripp, the Crim had had chronic difficulty keeping a stable line-up since their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King back in
Bill Bruford: The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More (2009)
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