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Bill Bruford: The Pilgrim’s Progress

Bill Bruford
Bill Bruford

It’s hard to figure which fact is more unbelievable, that Jan. 1, 2008, marked the start of Bill Bruford’s 40th year in the music business, or that May 17, 2009, will be the seemingly ageless drummer’s 60th birthday.

That’s right: Bruford started his professional career while still in his teens, co-founding the progressive rock band Yes with Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. The drummer’s crisp, distinctive playing propelled the longstanding group’s first five albums, still some of their best. He left to join darker prog-rockers King Crimson, and likewise contributed to that off-and-on band’s strongest efforts between 1972 and 1997. Bruford’s 40-year odyssey features nearly 3,000 performances including Genesis, U.K., his fusion quartet Bruford, and still-active jazz group Earthworks, formed in 1986.

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