“THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE
guitarists I’ve worked with is that they are
all so different in their approaches,”
enthuses drummer extraordinaire Bill
Bruford, who, as a member of Yes, King
Crimson, UK, Genesis, and numerous other
heavyweight bands, has worked alongside
many of the world’s most innovative players.
Here, Bruford muses on a few of his
“STEVE HOWE brought a lot to the
table. His solos were always terrifically
melodic and well shaped, and
became so much a part of the pieces
that it was difficult to separate the
two. He also brought a vastly
expanded range of colors to the instrument.
“ALLAN HOLDSWORTH was like
a spider zooming up and down a web.
As a writing drummer, I was always
trying to provide some sort of slower
counterpoint to his rapid stuff, rather
than trying to play the things he was
“ROBERT FRIPP is disarming
about his technical difficulties, maintaining
that he has learned music as
others learn French, implying a grind,
sweat, and repetition. In the ‘minimalist’
’80s, he opted for a sixteenth-note
continuum that often started at the
beginning of a tune and continued
without a break until the end.
“ADRIAN BELEW is the Elephant
Man! Being a drummer, too, Adrian
has a great sense of time and the
weight of where he’s going to place
things relative to the rhythmic line.
He doesn’t tread all over whatever
rhythmic stuff is cooking underneath,
but complements it.
“DAVID TORN had no interest in
competing to be the fastest gunslinger
in the West, so he moved into a world
of micro-scales, Arabic tonalities, and
effects processing, which gave him a
whole new slant. I loved his work on
the records we did, especially Cloud
Bill Bruford: The Autobiography, chronicles
Bruford’s career, from co-founding
Yes in 1968 to his recent retirement. CDs
and DVDs—including a free two-disc
sampler of Bruford’s jazz recordings—
are available at billbruford.com.