129

Soft Machine Legacy: Live Adventures

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Soft Machine Legacy: Live Adventures Many have found elements of jazz in the music of European progressive rock artists such as Gong, Can, King Crimson and even, to a certain improvisational extent, Yes. Soft Machine Legacy continues this...umm, legacy with an amoeba-like lineup (mostly) from alumni of the original progressive instrumental group Soft Machine: guitarist John Etheridge, bassist Roy Babbington and drummer John Marshall, joined by like-minded improviser and former Gong member Theo Travis on saxophones and flute.

Recorded in Austria and Germany during Soft Machine Legacy's 2009 European tour, Live Adventures sings the rare instrumental jazz-rock song that doesn't seem to cry out for vocals: unspoken and invisible connections between these musicians say plenty enough. "The Nodder" may be based on an electric guitar melody doubled by bass with contrapuntal saxophone, but it's Marshall who keeps this "Nodder" moving: he swirls snare and cymbal pulses into dizzying rhythmic pools and waves that don't move straight ahead in any definite direction but concentrically ripple out, then back, and emerge more loud and aggressive as Travis' improvisation grows more strident and free.

But most of these Adventures are charted by guitarist Etheridge and saxman/flutist Travis. Travis shows his free jazz saxophone bent in the more knotty passages of "Grapehound," and unwraps from "Gesoreut" futuristic Rahsaan Roland Kirk and electrified Eddie Harris sounds that seem to echo back from a distant planet. His flute layers simple, gorgeous cover for Etheridge's profoundly beautiful insight into the blues-based ballad "Song of Aeolus," and their dual lead lines supercharge the fusion "In the Back Room," with Etheridge harmonizing in twisting psychedelic colors and chopping out blocks of funk. "The Relegation of Pluto/Transit" is an amplified, "let's all play at the same time," intellect-cleansing freakout.

Live Adventures is dedicated to two deceased Soft Machine bandmates, saxophonist Elton Dean and bassist Hugh Hopper. Hopper's legacy is reprised in this live set by a colorful abstraction of his composition "Facelift" that somehow floats apart into separate, simultaneous guitar and saxophone passages and yet remains together. The dawn of "The Last Day" grows out of its ending, an organic hypnotic jazz-rock jam that swells and then fades into silent nothing.

Track Listing: Has Riff II; Grapehound; The Nodder; In the Back Room; Song of Aeolus; The Relegation of Pluto/Transit; Gesolreut; Facelift; The Last Day.

Personnel: John Etheridge: guitar; Theo Travis: saxophones, flute; Roy Babbington: bass; John Marshall: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Moonjune Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh" CD/LP/Track Review Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Ears Are Filled With Wonder" CD/LP/Track Review Ears Are Filled With Wonder
by John Sharpe
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "LifeCycle" CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

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!