Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Not great, but worth getting if you're a fan
Christopher Baum | Astoria, NY | 10/10/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I got an early look at this DVD by purchasing one of 500 copies of the "special edition," which would be signed (or so the ad said) by all five performers. In the event Annette Peacock did not sign, but the DVD came with a nice letter from Bill Bruford apologizing for this.
Sadly, the performance is somewhat disappointing. This is an absolutely amazing group of musicians, but we're seeing them here on what must have been an off night. Allan Holdsworth seems to be sleepwalking a bit, and Bill Bruford's playing also lacks energy at times. Dave Stewart does OK (it's hard to imagine him ever sinking any lower than that), while Jeff Berlin gives the best performance overall. The ensemble is pretty ragged at times, particularly "Beelzebub" (a mess, plain and simple, and it shows on Bruford's face towards the end) and, surprisingly, the first section of "Forever Until Sunday" (actually this piece never completely settles in). Fortunately, though, these guys on an off night are still more interesting than most musicians at their peak. I may have winced a few times, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the show (most of it anyway -- more on that in a moment).
The date of the concert may explain some of the rough edges. This performance took place while the band were still working on their (tremendous) album "One of a Kind," from which the majority of the concert's material is drawn. As for the pieces from "Feels Good to Me," it's important to remember that that album was actually a Bill Bruford solo project, a one-shot deal after which the musicians packed up and moved on to other gigs. It was only after the collapse of UK that Bruford reassembled the "Feels Good to Me" lineup and began working on what would become the first Bruford group album, "One of a Kind." So this concert captures the band at a tricky time: the "Feels Good to Me" material is perhaps a bit rusty, while the newer stuff isn't totally nailed down yet. But as I've said, the performance is very enjoyable despite all that... at least until Annette Peacock walks onstage.
I don't know a nice way to say it: Peacock is horrible, and she damn near ruins the concert. I know some fans find her pretty hard to take. Personally I don't mind her work on "Feels Good to Me" (although her delivery in "Adios a la pasada" never fails to remind me of William Shatner), but her performance here is simply awful. She doesn't even really seem to be trying; she speaks most of her lines (even more so than usual), giving only a few half-hearted (and unsuccessful) attempts to sing on pitch. It's completely unconvincing and highly embarrassing. No wonder she backed out of her autographing commitment.
The accompanying booklet is a lot of fun. Apart from some nice introductory remarks from Mr Bruford himself, it's basically a scrapbook of press clippings (both favorable and un-), photos, posters, etc., from the period. I found it particularly amusing how often Jeff Berlin was misidentified by the press (I guess John Clark wasn't the only "unknown" in the group's history). In one clipping, Annette Peacock reveals that Bruford's first choice to do the vocals on "Feels Good to Me" was Robert Wyatt. Now THAT would have been interesting...
If you aren't already familiar with this music, this probably isn't the best introduction. (Pick up the CDs "One of a Kind" and "Feels Good to Me," and once you're hooked on those, come back and give this DVD a try.) But if you are, you don't need me to tell you that any chance to see these fantastic musicians in concert is worth the money."
HOLDSWORTH/ BRUFORD: BBC ROCK GOES TO COLLEGE!...
Jeff T. Jesmorh | Mexico City. | 11/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in 1977, A consumated myth, Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson), released his first solo album "FEELS GOOD TO ME" (1977) with the participation of great keyboardist Dave Stewart, a relative unknown american bass player Jeff Berlin; and the growing myth Allan Holdsworth. Before this, Bruford and Holdsworth literally filled every room beyond expectatives at the bands they were. In 1978, Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton formed the progressive band U.K. and by Bruford recommendation, guitarist Allan Holdsworth (Soft Machine, Gong, Tony Williams, Jean Luc-Ponty) fill the place to complete the cuartet creating a chemistry few times listened in music, that meant a well earned place aside big english Progressive bands as Yes, ELP or Genesis... But that's not all! "FEELS GOOD TO ME" wasn't just another solo effort. What the neophyt must know, is what it actually meant, for the Progressive field: A giant cornerstone where a lot of new and past bands, nowadays feed (and still feed!) their deeper musical roots...
In this recorded concert, BBC ROCK GOES TO COLLEGE (1979), the sonic approches of the music with Jazzy fills or Hard Rock accents, the up tempo rhythms with outrageous musical modulations or the bitonal combinations with the odd key changes that these young four musicians got in the studio with the participation of poet singer Annette Peacock in 1977, were what they actually achive: an explosive tasty balanced Fusion. And that's exactly what you shall get for in this emotive amazing live BBC concert of the first lineup of the Bruford band. But be carefull! Maybe the neophyt, the new listerner will have a little risky temptation to dislike or patronize the Peacock performance, but as Bill Bruford at the inside DVD booklet especifies:
" And then there was Annette. Chanteuse, poet, rapper, jazz musician, pianist-somewhere in there was the oestregen that this testoterone-fuelled group desperately needed for balance... her contribution is provocative, unsettling and on the edge; my only regret is that we didn't work together longer and explore further."
During the presentation the band played with conviction and real confidence showing the high level of musicianship adquired with the years. With his classic tone and timbre, Bill Bruford played with accuracy and getting in all kind of assorted percussions, while Allan Holdsworth played his fantastic liquid legato style driving with different chord textures and providing the powerfull side of the band with solos that really cut through track by track. I must say that the young Holdsworth played two self made guitars (because no one had trademark in the neck). Maple with black pickguard, and Red with black pickguard but for some reason the maple one sounded better (a little bit high toned) than the red one. Meanwhile Dave Stewart, played amazing finesse key textures that provided the precise atmosphere as tracks gone bye. And although the american bassist Jeff berlin had some missed notes, he showed total control and knowledge in his instrument, but his playing seemed a little bit gloomy, because at times, the played notes by the way during the "5G" track at high speed, lose clearness by the tone of his instrument. But generally speaking, the performance of the band was outstanding... It's good to see a great band having fun everytime they play!...
This marvellous live concert offers furthermore, four new songs (at that time) of the "ONE OF A KIND" album (1979): "The Sahara Snow Parts I & II", "5G" (written by Jeff Berlin), and a song that was played a lot of times on the road with U.K. band, "Forever Until Sunday" (credited Bruford/Jobson in the ROAD TEST live album in 1978). From the "FEELS GOOD TO ME" album were played the tracks "Sample and Hold", "Beelzebub", "Back to the beginning" and "Adios a la Pasada (Goodbye to the Past)" which its correct traduction to spanish is "Adios al Pasado" but whatever..., to resume, the importance of a well recorded auditive and visual document as this live BBC concert presentation make it a worthwhile legacy not just for the die hard fan, but for the beginner that really wants to know and incursionate in the roots of the Jazz Fusion music. So do you want to see the masters Holdsworth and Bruford Live?... Good Luck!
A last Note: Look for U.K. in the You Tube Web, for Allan Holdsworth unknown videos of "In The Dead Of Time", "Nothing To lose" or "Caesar's Palace Blues" and never seen A.H. concerts ("At The Galaxy" and others!), plus an Old Gray Whistle Test video of Bruford's "Back To The Beginning".
Bill Bruford - Rock Goes To College: Live 1979 DVD
Richard A. Leffler | Spokane, WA USA | 10/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been following Bruford for quite a long time and finally got a chance to see him live! Great DVD showing the "One of a Kind" years....didn't think they could produce that style of music live but they did! A very well rounded drummer that surrounds himself with awsome musicians. He has also put out another DVD that highlights his more "jazzy" side....it too is worth seeing. Thanks Bill!"