This is a “quickie” anthology of a few of my own favorite drummers. The idea was inspired by a coworker, but since I like to annotate things a bit (stop laughing, now), I thought it made sense to post it here.
Heart of the Sunrise. If I had to pick one short example of what I love so much about Bruford’s style, it’s to be found between 0:32 and 2:08 from the 1972 studio recording of Yes’ Heart of the Sunrise. He decorates like nobody else I’ve heard before, and it’s especially noticeable when his playing is sparse like this.
Indiscipline. This tune dates from 1981 and is a great summary vehicle for the ’80s King Crimson in general. This clip is from 1982, with some good coverage of Bruford’s playing.
Interestingly, here is Bruford, years later at a drum workshop, discussing his approach to playing (and playing with) the tune’s introductory drum sequence:
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part One. Here is Bruford with storied percussionist Jamie Muir in the 1973 Crimson piece “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic”. (Gotta love that early ’70s video aesthetic.) It’s not quite right to cut the piece up like this–the below clip omits nearly half of LTIA Part One, and then there’s the rollicking LTIA Part Two bookending the other end of the album; you really need the whole thing for proper context–but it nonetheless gives an idea of what sort of sound coloring that edition of Crimson was experimenting with. Anyway, here Muir is the far more interesting player; his impact on Bruford’s subsequent playing was…significant.
There’s lots of other Bruford to go further with, but the above gives a decent introduction.
Other King Crimson
Starless. The tune dates from 1974, and the studio recording is simply stunning, but this clip is from 2015, played by a seven-headed beast representing the first King Crimson group to seriously treat prior material. (This is still weird to me, the notion of going to a King Crimson show and hearing anything other than the current band’s all new music. But they are re-invigorating much of the back catalog in a way that is more than honorable to the Crim muse.) I posted on it in a bit more detail already, but am including it here again to showcase that triple-drummer frontline. The 13/4 and 13/8 middle sections are a great showcase for the patience and collaboration that Mastelotto, Rieflin, and Harrison bring to this group. Three drummers and still, so much space!
Easy Money. Another clip from the 2015 tour, this one of the 1973 piece Easy Money. Another look at the frontline of that seven headed beast (the first one I stumbled across); here, Rieflin is entirely on keyboards, leaving Mastelotto and Harrison to share the fun bits.
The Black Page, played by Terry Bozzio. This is a famous piece with a funny story. I couldn’t find the one I’d seen before with Bozzio and Chad Wackerman playing it in unison, with a rolling score superimposed on the screen, but here is a good one of Bozzio (the drummer who first played the piece) on his own. Remember, this is a written piece, not an improvised one.
Here’s another clip of Bozzio in his prime, taking the vocal on “Punky’s Whips”, followed by one of those Frank Moments. It may be possible to rock harder than this, but you’d have to work at it. 🙂
Thirteen. This one gets the include both because it’s Vinnie Colaiuta, generally regarded as the most technically skilled of all the Zappa drummers, and because I just love hearing Frank casually telling the audience how to clap along in 13/8 time. And then he and Shankar just tear it up.
One could really go on about Zappa drummers–and many others–but I’ll stop there for now.