On reflection, keyboardist Patrick Moraz and drummer Bill Bruford had obvious commonality. By the mid 1980s both were Yes alumni, both were tiring of big-stadium excess, both had roots and influences that lay closer to jazz than progressive rock, and both were looking for a more flexible music, stripped of the trappings and associated costs of their regular day-jobs.
The duo recorded two albums of drum-and-keyboard based music, suffused with upbeat invention and peerless skill. Both 'Music For Piano And Drums'(1983) and 'Flags' (1985) were well received and retain a resonance that still rings loud and true, and is being discovered anew by an eager audience for whom it is as fresh and exciting as it was for those who discovered it the first time around.
The original albums are now accompanied on Winterfold Records by 'In Tokyo', an A+ quality 1985 recording from Laforet Museum, Akasaka, Tokyo, and the only official Winterfold live album available from the duo. 10 tracks capture Moraz-Bruford at the peak of their game. As commentator Sid Smith remarks:
'Though there's an undeniable jazzy vibe to much of what's going on, there's also more than a hint of the symphonically-inclined prog-rock in which both players cut their professional musical teeth. Principally this is most evident in the framework provided by Moraz's likeable and accessible tunes. Though clearly well-structured they offer plenty of opportunities to display the lightning-quick reactions and sharp dynamics best exemplified on the racy epic and original album closer, Hazy'.
'In Tokyo' offers an excellent opportunity to re-assess the group's work which remains, as Smith points out, 'marvellously spiky and capricious...closer to the jazz-based material that Bruford would explore more fully in Earthworks a few years later'.
'The group's music is...the perfect juncture between Bruford's progressive leanings and his future jazz interests'. John Kelman, All About Jazz.
1. Blue Brains
3. Eastern Sundays
6. The Drum also Waltzes
8. Children's Concerto
9. Jungles of the World
10. Temples of Joy