This limited edition live set, recorded in the Netherlands, showcases the Soft Machine Legacy's bridging of previously explored horizons with a new outlook, firmed up by acclaimed British jazz guitarist John Etheridge. With three longstanding members of the early rendition of the Soft Machine carrying the torch, this album features richly lyrical jazz-rock architectures of various colors and flavors.
On the opening "Ash, Etheridge's understated electric guitar voicings provide an ethereal backdrop for Elton Dean's softly executed sax lines, embedded within a gently flowing theme. Then the soloists proceed to turn up the heat via some cat and mouse digressions as the band ventures off into a sequence of mini-motifs. The artists do carry forth sounds of the fabled Canterbury progressive rock era via bassist Hugh Hopper's early Soft Machine classic "Kings & Queens.
The majority of these pieces were composed solely for this occasion, which brings to mind the fact that this rendition of the ensemble's ongoing legacy never recorded as a unit until now. And with Dean's yearning melody lines, the band members generally doesn't aim to overpower, although they wisely pick their spots to do so. For example, the musicians slam matters into tenth gear on the fast-paced burner "Two Down, where legendary drummer John Marshall generates a pumping funk-rock groove. The highlights are bountiful throughout; this recent effort spawns a new epoch for the band's exodus into the future. Essential...
Track Listing: Ash; 1212, Baker's Street, Kings & Queens, Two Down, Big Cheese.
Personnel: Elton Dean: alto saxophone, saxello, Fender Rhodes piano; John Etheridge, electric guitar;
Hugh Hopper, bass guitar; John Marshall, drums.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.