Bill Bruford, a percussionist with the technique and prowess of classical musicians


The world of percussion instruments and drumming is not an easy one. It needs precision and a great combination of drumming skills to deliver quality sounds and mixes. And Bill Bruford knew just how to do this.

Bill Bruford Stage
Bill Bruford on Stage

Bill Bruford is termed as a percussionist with the technique and prowess of classical musicians. This characteristic put him at a level of his own. And when it came to delivering jazz tunes, Bill imprisoned it with subtlety and spontaneity that could not be emulated anywhere else.

That is not all; he has a clear mastery of all music genres, which made him the best levels of quality.  Hence, he was also a rock drummer with an emphatic drive.

One of the reasons that made Bill pick up fast in the industry is that he was already an established drummer when he started performing to the public.

He had already acquired all the techniques and skills he needed by the time he featured in the first five albums by Yes.  As such, it was not hard for him to attain public recognition. He came out strong, with a purpose and focus on making his music career strong, and he did not stop until it was so.

Bill Bruford Drummer
Bill Bruford Drummer

Bruford played for Yes until 1972 when the band was at the edge of global superstardom. He, the change for King Crimson, in which he played for the next two years. This was a very important decision because it showed how a rock drummer could easily find new angles in set-list staples.

Bruford continues to create excellent sounds at the time as he faced off new challenges night after night, yet still conjured new pieces out of thin air. It was his way of creating new ideas and making unique music that made him an admirable figure among other drummer players and his fans altogether.

Bruford appeared in two more stints with King Crimson; he found new ideas for creating even better music. Between 1981 and 1984, the re-branded himself as a polymetric funk savant.

There is evidence for his newfound stand in his 2009 autobiography, where he wrote: “my spiritual, home, albeit with a bed of nails for a quarter-century.” This did not only show his devotion to what he did, but also that what he did had great significance in the world. It was an excellent definer for his personality, which, for many, appeared to be more than just a drummer.

Bill Bruford Druming
Bill Bruford Druming

But then, he also reinvented himself as a chaos agent in the double drummer lineup between 1994 and 1996. At this time, he delivered a lot of heart-warming pieces that have been played over the years.

Despite the two changes in his life above, he never abandoned his postbop passion project, Earthworms. This has been his life-long legacy that he is proud to have worked on, until today.

He retired from stage performance in 2009, a few months before completing his Ph.D. He is now referred to as Doctor Bruford, and he continues to inspire more musicians.

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