But it is ultimately live where jazz happens. Recorded mostly in America, and partly in England on tour in 1992, the band’s fourth CD, Stamping Ground, was indeed, live, one-take, no overdubs, and very real.
“…fine groovemanship and advancing techniques on tuned electronic percussion.”
Earthworks’ progress was temporarily halted in 1994-96, when Bruford returned to active service with King Crimson, whose double-trio, double-drummer incarnation toured the world giving over 120 concerts. In 1997, however, business was resumed with the release of Heavenly Bodies on Virgin; this takes a broad overview of events since 1986, culling eleven tracks from across all four CDs, and adding previously unreleased live material. It is, for the newcomer, the ideal entry point to the ferocious agility with which the band negotiates the rapids, and for the long standing customer, an excellent “greatest hits” package.
1998 saw the release of Bill’s “chamber trio” outing with guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner, and the legendary bassist Eddie Gomez. This revealed an ever-increasing maturity in his writing for small group which he wanted to take further and Earthworks was revitalised as his main touring and writing outlet at the end of that year.
This second edition of the band continued to use the best British talent available, and having effectively jettisoned electronic percussion Earthworks revisited the broadly acoustic sax-piano-bass-drums line up. Featuring Steve Hamilton who trained in the US, and played with Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard and Gary Burton among others; Patrick Clahar, the fast-rising London tenorist best known for his work with Incognito, and Mark Hodgson (bass), this was the quartet that produced “A Part , and Yet Apart” (1999 ), “The Sound of Surprise” (2001) and the 2002 double combo CD and DVD ” Footloose and Fancy Free” / “Footloose in NYC “. With the brilliant multi-instrumentalist and composer Tim Garland, and the UK’s brightest young pianist Gwilym Simcock, the ever-evolving Earthworks went on to record “Random Acts of Happiness” (2004) and “Earthworks Underground Orchestra” (2006), and release two Anthology DVDs (2007). As of January 1 2009, the group is now parked indefinitely.
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