Fricke's Picks: Bill Bruford's Drummer's View

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The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks, and More (Jawbone Press), by the English drummer Bill Bruford, is a wandering but frequently hilarious recounting of his long life in progressive rock and jazz, surviving, among other things, early van rides with Yes and the eccentricities of Crimson's ruling "magus," guitarist Robert Fripp. Bruford also defends U.K. prog-rock without oversentiment ("the vital expression of a bohemian, middle-class intelligentsia") and, defying every drummer joke you've ever heard, writes successfully from inside the music, as in this description of the gamelan-guitar sound of the early-Eighties Crimson: "A good performance... was like making circles in the air with a feather duster." I wish I'd written that.