"Minimal production issues aside, this DVD captures the essence of why Earthworks is so fantastic to see live, and why its fearless leader is fast becoming known as "Britain's Art Blakey." Bruford returns to his jazz roots with the second incarnation of Earthworks, which now has two studio discs and one (double) live CD to its credit. These releases feature the best young jazz talent on the London club scene, from Mark Hodgson's sinewy bass lines and Steve Hamilton's effortless brilliance on piano to Patrick Clahar's intricate soprano and tenor sax melodies. Gone are the chordal drums and heavy reliance on keyboards, yet Bruford and company play with the precision of a fusion group and the soul of famed jazzmen such as Dave Brubeck. Bruford has indeed found his groove.Recorded in 2001 at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club, the DVD relies heavily on the "Sound of Surprise" studio CD, with selected tracks from 1999's "A Part, and Yet Apart." Bruford also throws in one older audience favorite, "Bridge of Inhibition," for good measure as a sizzling finale. This middle-eastern flavored piece showcases the ensemble's collective and individual talents to almost dizzying heights. For those not fortunate enough to have seen them, or for diehard fans who miss their periodic dose of live Bruford, this recording will prove to be an invaluable part of your collection."
Sizzling Live Jazz Recording Caught On Video
Randall Peterson | Austin,TX USA | 06/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This live performance by Bill Bruford's Earthworks smokes, sizzles, and catches fire. Never mind that the video quality is not pristine... the music more than makes up for it. It's like listening to a great recording of sizzling live jazz performance, with the bonus of being able to see the musicians as they create it. The sometimes "lo-fi" video quality just adds to the atmosphere of what it might have been like to be at the club the night this was captured. And the price of the DVD is less than that of most CDs! If you like authentic acoustic jazz mixed with modern bop stylings, and superb musicianship & composition, you will love this."
Bruford's jazz side
uncle mozo | Brewster, NY USA | 06/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone hoping for the dynamic Yes-King Crimson style of Bill Bruford's talents as a drummer will be disappointed here. However, if you appreciate his nuances and impeccible sense of timing, here they are on display in a rare showing of his jazz talents. And jazz this is, make no mistake about it. No Billy Cobham-style fusion to be seen. (I should add I really like Billy Cobham.) Although this DVD will be too mellow for some (many?) of his fans, it is,IMHO, an excellent performance. Bill certianly seems to be enjoying himself. The audio recording is very good, however the video is very inconsistent. Sometimes clear and steady, but at times annoyingly shakey and grainy. It's as if poor quality video equipment was used, and the imperfections are magnified on DVD.
Tripods certianly could have been used more often, especially the shots taken from the rear of the small Bottom Line nightclub where this was taped. Intimate and up-close, showing a side of a master drummer few of his fans have seen, this is certianly a worthwhile DVD. It's just a little unfortunate more care wasn't given to the video taping of the show. As a side note, the interview with Bruford included on the DVD is very interesting and informative."
Killer peformance. Horrible production.
M. DEIBERT | Bethlehem , PA United States | 05/22/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Earthworks gives a fantastic performance here, however the terrible production value takes away from what might have been a truly amazing DVD. Having studied video production and editing my complaints may be nitpicking to some. First of all the video is totally out of sync from the audio in many parts of the performance and at times the totally wrong video was used. None of the cameras seemed to have been mounted on a tripod causing constant 'shakey cam' shots throughout the DVD. At times when Bruford is really wailing on the kit we unfortunately only get a closeup of his face. Why couldn't he have a shot of him playing the drums? During trading fours with the sax player we miss all of Bruford's solos because only the saxaphonist is being shot. It would have also been nice to have shots of the sax players fingers than just his face. And why couldn't there have been a constant shot of Bruford throughout the video? It seems to me who ever shot this performance knew nothing about the music being played or how to shoot a musical performance. This DVD suffers greatly due to this. Also I have noticed some flaws in the DVD itself. For example, I am unable to fast forward faster than 2x. If I try to go 4x the disc freezes. Also if I rewind, it doesn't rewind through the track but goes to the beginning of the disc. These may be problems inherit only to my disc, or it may be defects to all discs. Either way it is really annoying. The performance is amazing though but I would be hesitent to recommend this DVD for other than the audio portion of it."
Great show, flawed presentation.
J. P. Moody | Florida, USA | 05/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As Bruford performs in limited US venues, it's terrific he captured what appears to be an entire show for us on DVD. The band is in top form, and the DVD's audio brings their performance vividly to life.It's the video presentation where this DVD is lacking. The image is plagued with artificating (block-like pixels, rather than sharp definition), frequent fluctuations in brightness, and general instability.Not that it's a complete failure visually. The camera work perfectly suits the intimate jazz club setting. No fluid dolly or crane shots here. Just a few shaky, handheld video cameras, often crossed in front of by a waitress or audience member!"