Bill Bruford - Bowing Out

Bill Bruford surprised us all earlier in the year by announcing his intention to retire from active performance. Given that he’s only 60 next month, and by no means an ancient seer and in recent years an active bandleader and mentor to a new generation of jazz musicians the news will come as a disappointment to his many fans and those who have charted his playing back to the far distant days of the early years of Yes. Andy Robson talks to Bill about his reasons for this life change as Bill’s new autobiography hits the shelves.


It’s gifted to few, whatever their profession, to quit at the top of their game. For every Nasser Hussein, leaving Test cricket with a match winning ton, there’s a score of Muhammad Alis or Paul Gascoignes going one bout too far or tragically spiralling down the leagues as their talents decline in public view.

Bill Bruford would smile at the sporting similes. His preferred analogy, as pointed out in his own erudite autobiography, is with Max Roach. Roach was a boyhood hero for Bruford, the epitome of all that summed up the art of percussion. Elegant, effortless, economical. That description did for Roach and it was what Bruford aspired to. But fast forward through the decades and Bruford heard the master just before his death and “there was daylight” between Roach and his bassist. “How the mighty are fallen”, thought the now mature Bruford who perhaps caught a vision of his own potential decline and fall.

Yet there are always exceptions. Bruford himself recognises the genius of Roy Haynes, whom he saw perform as an 83-year-old and was still “the music”.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #129 – to read the full article click here to subscribe and receive a FREE CD

Ravi Coltrane - Gold Blend

It’s a mature Ravi Coltrane that appears impressively on new album Blending Times. Recorded not long after the death of his mother Alice Coltrane, Ravi talks to Stuart Nicholson about his own approach often only seen within the prism of his father’s legacy. It’s a path that began with early on-the-road explorations with Elvin Jones and Steve Coleman coalescing into his early records for RCA and more recent work with Saxophone Summit.

Gilad Atzmon - The Ornithologist

Gilad Atzmon bids a none-too-fond farewell to George Bush with his new album, In Loving Memory of America, which, slightly surprisingly, takes Charlie Parker’s Bird With Strings project as its main focus. Yet typically Atzmon, surely the most politically and satirically inclined jazz musician anywhere on the planet, finds a new way forward for the bebop warhorses he uses as raw material. Andy Robson bunkers down with Gilad for a no-holds-barred discussion.

Gareth Williams - Feel the Force

Gareth Williams has always been recognised on the British jazz scene as an improviser with a subtle but effective touch, whether he finds himself accompanying singers like Claire Martin or playing acid jazz with Us3. His new record, however, signals a change of course, moving him in the direction of the beefed-up power trio, which you might think suits his retro-inclined 70s fashion sense and mod leanings. But as Selwyn Harris finds out, there’s more to Williams than meets the eye – a musician keen to explore his own identity and one not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.

Tim Garland's Lighthouse Trio - Balancing Act

Tim Garland in the space of 20 years has carved out a career as a highly distinctive saxophonist and composer with a sense of his own English identity as a player and at the same time establishing his own place within the jazz tradition. As well as founding his own groups, Garland has played extensively with both Bill Bruford and Chick Corea and has been commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra to write a concerto. This month his Lighthouse Trio, with GWILYM SIMCOCK and ASAF SIRKIS , releases a striking new album which also features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the latest chapter in a fascinating journey for Garland. Interview:: Stuart Nicholson.

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