Bruford — Feels Good to Me
(Winterfold BBWF003CD, 1977/2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-11
I still remember when this album came out. For my teenage self, it probably faced the highest expectations of any new release ever. I fell in love with Bill Bruford’s drumming with Yes and King Crimson; Dave Stewart was probably my number one favorite keyboard player, based on his work in National Health, Egg, and Hatfield and the North; and I was familiar with Allan Holdsworth from his playing with Soft Machine, Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Tony Williams. Jeff Berlin was relatively unknown to me at that time, as were Annette Peacock and Kenny Wheeler. When I brought it home and put the LP on the turntable, out came “Beelzebub” and I spent roughly 3:21 without breathing. This was everything I’d hoped for and more! It was tricky, clever, and ridiculously complicated, but had a light touch to it that kept it from being simply a technical exercise. Bruford, Stewart, and Holdsworth were on the top of their game, and Berlin was a monster on the bass, with his own take on the fretless style I loved from Percy Jones in Brand X. And then there was “Back to the Beginning” and I was introduced to Peacock’s amazing voice. What an unexpected sound with this kind of music, with jazzy vibrato and casual delivery, and recorded so it jumped out of the speakers of my stereo. On the next track, they threw the next curveball, with Kenny Wheeler’s lovely flugelhorn bringing a new flavor to the music. These musicians were presenting a completely new way of blending jazz and rock that didn’t sound like any of the previous “fusion” groups. They were building on the work of National Health, but taking it in a different direction. Every single track on the album brings something new to the table, and I’ve always felt that Feels Good to Me contains some of Allan Holdsworth’s best playing anywhere. It’s right up there at the top for Bruford and Stewart as well — the combination of these players at this moment in time is simply magical. One of a Kind is a superb album as well, but the level reached by this one was never matched.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more