378

Soft Works: Abracadabra

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
Soft Works: Abracadabra Four legendary old friends reunite here to dig deeply into new material. On first listen it seems the energy level doesn't rise about a simmer much of the time, though Allan Holdsworth does kick things up a notch now and then. But repeated listens reveal the multiple layers of what is going on here, reminding us of what Soft Machine was once all about. The four men are older, wiser, more thoughtful and perhaps more analytical than when they first set to breaking ground in the 1960s. After a while it becomes evident that Soft Works is more than the sum of the four old men in the booklet photo.

Elton Dean remains his sinuous self for the most part, wrapping his alto and saxello around the rhythmic matrix like a python. On Hugh Hopper's "First Trane" the bassist and drummer John Marshall set up a slow, stalking riff over which Dean slithers deliciously. Holdsworth emerges later, interjecting pads from the Synthaxe like pieces of a puzzle which Dean must solve. On "K Licks" the guitarist, turned acidic this time, and Dean twist and parry through dense unison lines, and the band gets downright funky on "Willie's Knee" with Dean switching to the electric piano. Holdsworth gets to shred big-time on the closer, "Madame Vintage," and Marshall easily keeps pace with him with a ip-roaring sidelong improvisation.

Soft Works is, by and large, a different animal from Soft Machine and its other predecessors. That aside, it's an exceptionally well thought out project featuring four veterans who know each other's moods and expectations intuitively. It should be especially appealing to Holdsworth's current fans, given the prevalence of the Synthaxe as a coloring tool. Recommended.

Visit www.moonjune.com


Track Listing: Seven Formerly; First Trane; Elsewhere; K Licks; Baker?s Treat; Willie?s Knee; Abracadabra; Madame Vintage.

Personnel: Allan Holdsworth, electric guitar and Synthaxe; Elton Dean, saxophones, Fender Rhodes; Hugh Hopper, electric bass; John Marshall, drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Tone Center | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Storming Through the South" CD/LP/Track Review Storming Through the South
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Border Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Border Crossing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Music of Weather Report" CD/LP/Track Review Music of Weather Report
by John Ephland
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Alba" CD/LP/Track Review Alba
by John Kelman
Published: June 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!