Bill Bruford: (square root) q.e.d.


(square root) q.e.d.


Bill Bruford (drums)


Gradually Going Tornado (EG Records EGCD44)

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Bill Bruford (drums),

Dave Stewart (keyboards), John Clark (guitar), Jeff Berlin (bass)


Composed by Dave Stewart & Bill Bruford


Recorded: Surrey, England, October-November 1979


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

square root q.e.d.

The title of the cut refers to the Latin "quod erat demonstrandum," which means basically that the evidence in a mathematical proof or philosophical argument has been demonstrated to be true or proven. Or, to put it more simply, the proof is in the pudding. Understanding why one would request the square-root of the proof is a question for John Forbes Nash or Russell Crowe. Take your pick.

In this case you would have to disprove the theorem that this is Weather Report with a guest guitarist. Even further you would have to disprove that Bruford borrowed a bit from the spirit of "Birdland." This is not an accusation of pilfering in any way. I see it more as homage. The piece is an in-depth investigation into the layers of music. This is something Weather Report lived. Bruford's band offers its own proof that they are highly capable musicians who could dissect music and rearrange its DNA. There is no pretense that this is the progressive rock that was much expected from Bruford at this time. This is investigative journalism. I suggest it is some of Bruford's most interesting work.

Reviewer's Fun Fact: The only other artist I remember who used mathematical formulas in his song titles was free jazz multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton. In fact, he used all sorts of symbols and drawings that seemed disconnected from his material. When I was jazz disc jockey, I had more trouble conveying the titles of his tunes than I did understanding his music which wasn't easy either!

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Dana in Philly // Apr 07, 2009 at 06:38 PM
    Jeff Berlin's (the bassist) playing on QED, and on Joe Frazier, the preceding track, is flat out astonishing. In Bruford's recently published autobiography, he says that Berlin learned the bass using trombone etudes. You can hear the facility and speed.