David Sinclair enjoys the witty and erudite reminiscences of a rock drummer turned jazzman David Sinclair Published on Sat 11 Apr Then he moved into jazz, where he enjoyed success with his own group, Earthworks, but on a necessarily reduced scale. Having turned his back on a lucrative position at the heart of the rock machine, he has since found himself, like nearly all jazz musicians, operating as a cottage industry on the sidelines of the marketplace. He has found it a slog, to put it mildly, and at the age of 59 has now announced his retirement, with an almost audible sigh of relief.
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David Sinclair enjoys the witty and erudite reminiscences of a rock drummer turned jazzman David Sinclair Published on Sat 11 Apr Then he moved into jazz, where he enjoyed success with his own group, Earthworks, but on a necessarily reduced scale. Having turned his back on a lucrative position at the heart of the rock machine, he has since found himself, like nearly all jazz musicians, operating as a cottage industry on the sidelines of the marketplace.
He has found it a slog, to put it mildly, and at the age of 59 has now announced his retirement, with an almost audible sigh of relief. As well as allowing him to tell his side of the story, his book serves as an extended resignation letter to the industry that has fed, fascinated and frustrated him for more than 40 years. The most surprising feature of these memoirs is the lack of self-belief to which Bruford candidly admits.
Although revered as a master percussionist, who is a regular attraction at drum clinics specialist forums where the most acclaimed drummers are paid handsomely to show off their skills , he confesses to a lack of technical confidence that has become little short of disabling. Then, every note was perfect, polished, wreathed, garlanded and bedecked with self-confidence; now every note is riddled with the maggots of self-doubt In his search for an answer, Bruford muses in engrossing detail on the myriad compromises and pacts that the working musician must make: with his family, with other musicians, with the record industry, the media, promoters, managers, producers, equipment manufacturers.
He considers the vexed relationship between creativity and commerce, drawing on a range of outside reading material - sometimes a little self-consciously - to add theoretical weight to his anecdotal experience.
Like all musicians, Bruford has a distinctly ambivalent view of the audience on whose continued goodwill his livelihood depends, but who never fully succeed in "getting" what he is doing. Coming to the end of a four-night residency amid the "tawdry glamour" of the Hollywood entertainment district in , he notes that "tonight is the last night I shall have to sign autographs for the earnest, pleasant, balding, upright middle-aged men who have flown from Kansas City or El Paso because I once played on [the Yes album] Fragile.
His outward stoicism, inbred courtesy and disciplined work ethic were not conspicuous advantages when coming into a music world steeped in the drugs and debauchery of the s and early s. His relationship with the eccentric guitarist and bandleader Robert Fripp over several stints in King Crimson was even more bizarre. This was going to be more than three chords and a pint of Guinness. The account is loosely organised around a string of questions that Bruford has found himself parrying for most of his life: why did you leave Yes?
Is it difficult, with a family? Do you like doing interviews? The latter receives a resounding "No! But the perennial question that irks him most is: yes, but what do you really do? Now we know.
Bill Bruford - The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks and More
Shelves: rereads "Talent may never actually be in your possession at all. 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 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 different beat
Zulular Much of what he says about the p Bill Bruford came to fame early as the drummer for progressive rock band Yes before leaving to strike out into more challenging musical territory with King Crimson and then various jazz and jazz-rock groups. Maybe, but Bruford has managed to straddle both the art rock and jazz worlds like few others have. May 08, Alex Handyside rated it really liked it. What I was not expecting was a brilliantly-written book not only about his life, but about the music industry and the nature of music itself.