Recorded and mixed at Make Believe Ballroom, W. Shokan, NY. Portions recorded at Bill Bruford's house, Tony Levin's house and garage, David Torn's studio (The Loop Pool) and at the Gypsy Wolf Cantina, Woodstock, NY. Mastered at Gateway Mastering Studios. Published by BMG Music Publishing Ltd, T-Lev Inc (ASCAP), Charing Cross Music (BMI), Torn Music (BMI).
"Upper Extremities" contains the exotic sounds of four extremely talented musicians playing off each other - and having fun."
With this CD, Tony Levin and Bill Bruford present music unlike any you've ever heard.
It begins with the thundering rhythm section of progressive rock band King Crimson and adds the avant garde guitar riffs and distant planet loops of David Torn. Mix in the cool jazz sound of Chris Botti's trumpet - turn it upside down in a blender, and you've got Bruford Levin Upper Extremities - a CD that breaks through boundaries, nearly defying description.
-B.L.U.E. toured the U.S., April 13-19, 1998
Though Bill Bruford and Tony Levin have collaborated for many years, as a drummer and bassist will, this is the first voice given over totally to their creative will. Together, Bill and Tony have, for a long time, been the engine that propels the progressive rock group King Crimson. Bruford's drums and Levin's bass have also been heard together powering music of YES, Steve Hackett, David Torn, Al Dimeola, the upcoming CD of U.K., and a variety of progressive projects.
Individually, Bruford has an impressive list of credits - YES, Genesis, U.K., Crimson, his own Earthworks, and others.
Tony Levin has toured and/or recorded with Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Lou Reed, and many more. His two projects on Papa Bear Records - World Diary and From the Caves of the Iron Mountain - have etched new ground musically and carved out a place in the industry for the company.
Guitarist David Torn has been recording his own avant garde projects for some time - a leader in the field of new instrumental music, he's much in demand at European festivals. His album Cloud About Mercury featured Bruford and Levin and has become a classic of the genre.
Chris Botti, known for his trumpet playing with Paul Simon and Blue Nile, has found himself at the top of the jazz charts with his solo releases, including, most recently, Midnight Without You.
Bill Bruford and Tony Levin were the mainstays of the 1980s and 1990s King Crimson, one of rock's most consistently creative groups, and together are among the best rhythm sections in rock music. They played with David Torn on Torn's 1987 release Clouds About Mercury, and in 1998 they got together with him again. As on Clouds, they formed a quartet with a trumpeter, but instead of Mark Isham they enlisted Chris Botti, since Levin had worked on Botti's 1997 Midnight Without You release. On about half the tracks, Bruford, Levin and Torn display a high-energy rock music, like the opening "Cerulean Sea," with Torn and Bruford playing in polyrhythms, and "Cracking the Midnight Glass," a powerful piece with echoes of Led Zeppelin that Bruford calls "the power trio incarnate." The three also play some quiet, atmospheric music on "Thick With Thin Air," which is also one of the showpieces here for Bruford's electronic drums. Chris Botti plays on the other half, and provides them with a cool jazz feeling. His melodic work is highlighted on the jazzy Bruford composition "Original Sin" and in a lovely duet with Levin on "Fin de Siecle," but his trumpet adds coloring in the fanfares of "Presidents Day," the haunting lead of "Deeper Blue," and the reprise of an etude from Levin's solo album World Diary. There are also a number of short interludes of Bruford playing a derelict piano in Levin's garage, and both Bruford and Levin simultaneously playing a drum and bass contraption.
-Caleb Deupree All Music Guide