Top 5 Favorite Drummers #3 – Bill Bruford

The first time I remember thinking Bill Bruford is a genius was when I first heard the song Heart of the Sunrise by Yes. What struck me about that song is how he never sits on any single idea for more than 10 seconds. His playing is constantly changing, which is why it took me a whole week just to memorize the first minute of the 11 minute song. Bill Bruford is most known for his work with Yes and King Crimson in which he utilizes odd time signatures, creative rhythms, and a shitload of paradiddles. I like to think of Bruford’s playing as a microcosm of his career. As with his drumming, his career was constantly changing. He never stuck with any band for too long, and it seemed like he was always itching to try something new. When working with Yes and King Crimson I’ve heard that he often would hear someone’s idea for a song or a riff and would then just suggest that a beat be dropped or added. 4/4 became 5/4 or 3/4, and before you know it King Crimson is jamming out in 13/8 at the end of the song Starless. His drumming served to better whoever he played with and whatever track he was playing on. It’s the relentless desire to push and constantly move forward and try something new that makes me love Bill Bruford. Aside from that the guy can just flat out play:

Bruford on working with King Crimson:

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