King Crimson / Earthworks II

A highly productive February produces two CDs; the first, a chamber–jazz outing with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez, “If Summer Had its Ghosts”, suffers from no rehearsal and a first time reading of charts, but infuses Bill with confidence. In the afterglow, and at the same upstate New York studio, Bruford Levin Upper Extremities (B.L.U.E), is born.

Drained, Bill returns to the UK for the beginning of the longest professional drought in his career, which is to see only 12 gigs in the next year.

Disagreeable and expensive Crimson rehearsals begin in Nashville – six people and crew mill about aimlessly with zero artistic focus for an endless 10 days. Patience exhausted on all sides, malevolence and wilful goading ensure that the yawning chasm between Bill and Robert Fripp, now unable to agree even on where to eat dinner, is not about to close anytime soon. The atmosphere is poisonous. Relief as the rehearsals conclude, even as it becomes apparent that after 25 years, Bill and Robert are unlikely to attempt music-making together again.

Back at the Red Lion in Twickenham in November, Bill asks a brilliant young Scottish pianist, Steve Hamilton, to do some transcriptions for him.