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Bill Bruford and Michiel Borstlap


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Bill Bruford and Michiel Borstlap Biography

British percussionist Bill Bruford and Dutch keyboard master Michiel Borstlap are two of the leading lights in contemporary improvised music. Since their first meeting at the Nijmegen Festival in Holland in 2002, the duo have gone on to play major Festivals and concerts in Japan and Europe, and their CDs and DVDs are released internationally on Summerfold Records.

It was really only a matter of time before Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap became a major jazz star. But it was perhaps the winning in 1996 of the Thelonious Monk / BMI Composer's Award for his composition Memory of Enchantment, which went on to be recorded by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, that was the pivotal event that rocketed him to international attention. Michiel graduated Cum Laude from Hilversum Conservatory in 1992. Currently a guest lecturer at the Amsterdam Conservatory, he is equally at home with Chopin, Ravel, Bach and Prokofiev as he is with jazz. ''Classical is a means of mastering your instrument,'' he says, ''but jazz is freedom of expression''. And like partner-drummer Bill Bruford, he firmly believes in a music with immediacy, performed in the moment, exactly the sort of material on their new Summerfold CDs.

Bill Bruford, as one of the best-known drummers in the world, needs little introduction. By the tender age of 27 his musical character had already been forged in the fiery furnace of four of the biggest progressive rock groups of the 1970s; Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and UK. This early success propelled Bill, by nature a restless innovator uncomfortable with the well-worn path, into a fascinating 30-year career as a band leader and writer. Groups such as Bruford and Earthworks led the way with advanced harmony in electric rock in the 70s & 80s; samples, electronics, and odd-metres in electric jazz in the 90s, and stylistic innovation with strong compositional identity in his current acoustic jazz. His taste for the unpredictable in live performance has led him to collaborations with countless of the world’s top musicians, not least in his work with Michiel, in an endless search for the innovative, the unusual, and the unlikely. His life’s work is well documented on CD and DVD at Summerfold and Winterfold Records.

The nature of the Bruford-Borstlap music is conversational. In a small room, where most of the tracks on the CD In Two Minds were recorded, this may have the intimacy of a dinner table conversation between old friends (The Art of Conversation, Kinship ). But in a big hall, where things may quite naturally become a bit more muscular and assertive ( From the Source We Tumble Headlong), they are quite capable of sounding like a band with three times as many people in it. Neither quite rock, nor quite jazz, both men believe in a music with immediacy, with authorship, and without boundaries or safety nets. Their instant compositions resonate with happy coincidence, brilliant technique, human accident, unforced error, missed chances, astonishing good luck, hidden intentions, oblique references and the full catalogue of happenstance that is mirrored in all human existence, and is just the kind of place in which both men can live and breathe and have their being.

'Jazz insiders will find plenty to savour in this music, but so might those who’ve never knowingly heard a jazz album before.' Guardian UK

'The feats of coordination that they achieved, and the apparent symmetry of the instant arrangements that they hit upon, were astounding.' London Times

'[They] stretch the boundaries of both jazz and progressive rock…' New York Times

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