Bill Bruford – making a song and dance – a complete-career collection – 533

Produced by Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

This week we have the chance to review the amazing new box set from Bill Bruford. Mark and I are joined by the redoubtable Simon Barrow for the conversation.

  • What is included and what is excluded?
  • Is there a good selection from each of Bill’s projects?
  • Was Bill a rock drummer turned to jazz or the other way round?

Take a listen to the episode and then let us know what you think below!

Buy the box set on Burning Shed

YMP Patrons:


  • Jeffrey Crecelius and
  • Wayne Hall


Aaron Steelman

Dave Owen

Mark James Lang

Paul Tomei

Joost Maglev

David Heyden

Martin Kjellberg

Paul Wilson

Bob Martilotta


Michael O’Connor

William Hayes
Brian Sullivan

David Pannell

Miguel Falcão

Lobate Scarp

Chris Bandini

David Watkinson

Neal Kaforey

Rachel Hadaway

Craig Estenes


Paul Hailes

Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs

Doug Curran

Robert Nasir

Fergus Cubbage

Scott Colombo

Fred Barringer

Gary Betts
Geoff Bailie

Simon Barrow
Geoffrey Mason

Stephen Lambe

Guy R DeRome

Steve Dill

Henrik Antonsson

Steve Perry

Hogne Bø Pettersen

Steve Rode


Steve Scott

Jamie McQuinn

Steven Roehr

Ken Fuller

Terence Sadler

Michael Handerhan

Tim Stannard


Todd Dudley

John Cowan

Tony Handley

John Holden

Joseph Cottrell

John Parry

Keith Hoisington

John Thomson

Barry Gorsky

Alan Begg

Robert and David

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from:

7 replies on “Bill Bruford – making a song and dance – a complete-career collection – 533”

Thanks for using my signed Earthworks cd as the podcast profile photo. Yes, Kevin, please buy the 3 UK albums. Never late than never! I saw them on their ’78 & ’79 US tours, and interviewed them post gig on both for my radio shows. Wonderful music & concerts!
King Crimson is probably my 2nd favorite band after Yes, so I have all of their albums & saw them in concert from ’74 to this past Sept. on their last US tour. Long live the King.
I have Bill’s work with Watanabe, ‘The Spice of Life’ & recommend it to those not familiar with it. In fact, the dvd ‘The Spice of Life in Concert,’ is even better, so try to find that. It’s also on YouTube in sections for you to watch & enjoy.
All in all, a wonderful Bruford career box, with a great book with Bill’s comments, and some nice photos & memorabilia, some never seen before. It’s also a nice primer for those not as familiar with Bill’s work as we are as the 5%.

He didn’t include Birthright from ABWH? That’s the one he always mentions when he talks about what he liked about that period of music. And: Brother of Mine is great! Not cheesy, just great! Ok? Geez! 😉

Hi Guys,

Many thanks for another excellent episode. The box set is a very good introduction to Bill’s career and well worth purchasing if you are not familiar with his work outside Yes and King Crimson.
By the way Simon I was the one who said Bill was the greatest drummer in the world at the unveiling … that was a bit of humorous hyperbole on my part before I asked him if he still played. I am quite a jazz fan and have had the honour of seeing some of the truly great drummers in concert, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Manu Katche, Billy Cobham to name a few. Certainly Bill is an outstanding drummer even if Kevin and I were not that keen on the 80s Simmons electric pads!!

😉 Good to share that happy occasion with you and others, Gary. We may not have been there right at the beginning, at the genesis of Yes, but we were there when one of their founders shared with us in the memorialising of the beginning!

Just as I think Bill Bruford is an exceptionally articulate and intelligent voice among the alumni of Yes, I feel the same about Simon Barrow as a contributor to YMP. Subject and speaker synergised perfectly this week.
This sounds like a fabulous collection. I love musicians who lead me out of my musical safe space and into the wider ocean of styles and schools, and Bill has been the foremost navigator taking me beyond Yes to ballsy King Crimson, funky Bruford, the mayfly perfection of UK, and the eclectic turns of Earthworks and his other collaborations.
I think that “Making a Song A Dance” is a fantastic selection and I’d urge the uninitiated or curious to make the leap. And he’s created so much brilliant music that this set isn’t big enough to contain many personal favourites like “In The Dead of Night”, “Dewey-Eyed and Dancing” or “If Summer Had Its Ghosts”.
It’s 22 years since I last saw Bill play with Earthworks at the Queen Charlotte Rooms, in Leith. He delighted me in that cosy function room just as much as he had filling Wembley Arena with Yes a decade before. Up close I got to relish details such as his resting his reading glasses on one of his drums skins before a slower number, and knowing that he knew he wasn’t going to be thumping that tub before he put them back on again.
He is truly worthy of celebration.

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