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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities is the band formed by Bill Bruford and Tony Levin in 1998, both are acclaimed musicians who first played together in King Crimson in the early eighties.
They of course had extremely distinguished careers before meeting up in King Crimson. Bruford had previously been a member of Yes, Genesis and led his own band Bruford. Tony Levin had previously played with Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and also played on the sessions for John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double fantasy album. Bruford Levin Upper Extremities or B.L.U.E. as they became known, recorded two albums, one self titled studio album released in 1999 and a live album entitled Blue Nights released in 2000. The band also featured David Torn (who had previously collaborated with Bill Bruford and Tony Levin on the ECM album 'Cloud About Mercury') and Chris Botti. The music the band performed was an intriguing mix of jazz and rock.
Blue Nights is the companion album to the studio debut from B.L.U.E. The album was recorded live in 1998 and includes versions of a number of songs from the debut studio album including Cerulean Sea, and Original Sin. There are also a number of songs that appear only on this album. As a companion album to the studio B.L.U.E. album this live album completes the circle and as a memento for those who witnessed the tour is invaluable.
Personnel: Bill Bruford (drums), Tony Levin (bass), David Torn (guitar), Chris Botti (trumpet)
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So Blue Nights is what happens when you get together some totally committed, inquisitive, expressive musicians who are also prepared to take risks - with their instruments as well as their material. How many (sorry, but how can anyone classify this music?) albums featuring clay pot do you possess? - I'm sure the experience for them when writing, playing and recording as BLUE was difficult, rewarding, frustrating, satisfying, funny - I doubt ever boring.
That's exactly what the listening experience is for me. It's not an album I'm going to play every week and hum in those quiet moments at work, but I know that I have taken something from it and a little has even found it's way to inspire my own playing style from time to time (clay pot being oven fired as we speak!).
Something of a bargain - 2 hours of great stuff, avoid if you don't like trumpet though!
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