Earthworks II / Bruford-Borstlap

Bill stays on after Earthworks’ first trip to S.E.Asia to deliver drum workshops in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. With an appearance at the much tougher Montreal Drum Festival accepted for November, these are relatively “soft” markets in which to warm up at delivering what are effectively two-hour one-man shows. Depressingly, it is the case that whatever numbers the full state-of-the-art quartet Earthworks attracts in any given market will be doubled if the drummer alone shows up for a solo appearance. The band continues on to Spain, Poland, and, at last, Scandinavia, as the year progresses.

Also developing surprisingly well is the ad-hoc duo with Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap. Having started with modest expectations in Nijmegen, Netherlands, in 2002, the two have developed an all-improvised and conversational style of music, whose intimate nature seems to sit well with both audiences and promoters in Rotterdam and Kristiansand. Logistically easy to record and produce, Bill arranges to record upcoming dates at European Jazz Festivals, with a view to later release on Summerfold.

In November, he takes a loss on bringing the entire UK Earthworks to play Iridium in New York, prior to better paid East coast solo appearances and workshops. The year climaxes excitingly with an appearance at, and the receipt of an Award from, the Montreal Drum Festival. Also on the bill are the brilliant Bill Stewart and Roy Haynes.