Bill Bruford's Earthworks

Formed 1986.
Bill Bruford's Earthworks


Bill Bruford's Earthworks were a British jazz band led by drummer Bill Bruford. The band recorded several albums for Editions EG, Discipline Global Mobile and Summerfold Records.

Earthworks went through several line-ups: in addition to the band's accomplishments as a unit, Earthworks was a training ground for Django Bates, Iain Ballamy, Patrick Clahar, Mark Hodgson, Steve Hamilton and Gwilym Simcock. The final band line-up featured previously established jazz musicians in the form of Chick Corea sideman Tim Garland and veteran bass player Laurence Cottle.In interviews during the band's earlier years, Bruford sometimes compared his responsibilities within it as being similar to those of Art Blakey with the Jazz Messengers, in that he was providing an environment for young British jazz players to gain attention and experience before going on to become well-known players and bandleaders in their own right.

The initial version of Earthworks strongly stressed an acoustic/electronic jazz fusion style, balancing Bruford's electronic Simmons drums (frequently used for melodic or chordal parts) and Bates' synthesizer work against the traditional acoustic elements of Ballamy's saxophones and Bates' tenor horn. Although the band's initial formation featured double bass, the band subsequently used electric bass guitar until 1993. From 1998 onwards, Earthworks was predominantly an acoustic band, with double bass and piano rather than electric instruments and with Bruford returning to an acoustic drumkit. The band was formally retired in January 2009 when Bruford himself retired from active music.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Footloose and Fancy Free

    Footloose and Fancy Free

    Reviewed by Peter Marsh
    peppered with summery chord sequences and sharp, impressive soloing