Bill Bruford on 12 Career Highlights: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks - Rolling Stone
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Yes, King Crimson, and Earthworks Drummer Bill Bruford on 12 Career Highlights

The genre-spanning percussion master chooses some of his favorite moments from his four-decade discography

UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 26:  Photo of Bill BRUFORD; Posed portrait of drummer Bill Bruford at EG Records  (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

Master drummer Bill Bruford looks back on 12 highlights from his four-decade discography, covering Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks, and more.

David Corio/Redferns/Getty Images

From the late Sixties through his retirement in 2009, drummer Bill Bruford played progressive rock in stadiums, jazz in small clubs, and just about everything in between. During a recent conversation with Rolling Stone — touching on his work with Yes, King Crimson, his own band Earthworks, and more — Bruford mentioned in passing that he’d like to compile a list of some of his favorite moments from his vast recorded legacy, spotlighting not just his own contributions but the music as a whole. We invited him to take on the project, and the results are what follows, with Bruford’s own annotations. 

These tracks roll from the acoustic, analog, pre-computer, pre–click-track 1970s to the electronic, post-digital, computer-based 2000s: an exciting four decades to be behind a drum kit. Collectively they describe an unfolding set of ideas about what drums and drummers can or should do. The criterion for selection was either: did the performance do something I didn’t do yesterday, or: did it cover something I hadn’t really heard much of before? The probability that someone else may have done it elsewhere didn’t concern me. All timings are approximate.


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