Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

415

Soft Machine: Alive In Paris 1970

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Soft Machine

Alive In Paris 1970

Voice Print

2008

This could just as well be titled Very Much Alive In Paris since the DVD captures for posterity a couple of Soft Machine performances first broadcast on French television's POP 2 program on March 2, 1970. It features the short-lived five-piece incarnation of the group that comprised Lyn Dobson on soprano sax, flute, vocal and harmonica in addition to the potent quartet of Elton Dean, Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper and Robert Wyatt. As such, it has that moment-in-time feel for a number of reasons, not the least which is the potent, iconoclastic music actually being deemed worthy of televisual exposure.

The enduring impression that this group never played the same set the same way twice is evident from the git-go here, with "Facelift" living up to its title in the way that Dean and Dobson duet with the melody without actually fully stating it before the familiar theme emerges properly.

It should be noted at this point that there's little visual fireworks on the disc, which demonstrates, more than anything else, how the program was filmed at a time when it was assumed that the music was more than sufficiently eloquent in itself. Thus the camera focuses exclusively on Wyatt during his vocal extemporisation and on Dean for much of his saxello solo on "Eamonn Andrews," one of a number of moments that show the group had a special grasp of dynamics, resolving the age-old issue of tension and release with aplomb. Dobson's flute solo on "Backwards/Mousetrap Reprise" makes a similar point, with the rhythm section of Ratledge, Hopper and Wyatt evidencing more than mere power and volume.

"Out-Bloody-Rageous" rounds proceedings off in fine fashion, the tumbling line of its theme nicely negotiated in unison by Dean and Dobson and, as with numerous other examples of this group's music in circulation, the result overall is as strong a case as any for the joys of creative tension.

Tracks: Facelift, Esther's Nose Job, Eamonn Andrews/Backwards/Mousetrap, Out-Bloody-Rageous.

Personnel: Lyn Dobson: soprano sax, flute, voice, harmonica; Elton Dean: alto sax, saxello; Mike Ratledge: organ, pianet; Hugh Hopper: bass; Robert Wyatt: drums, vocals.



Production Notes: 62 minutes. Recorded March 2, 1970 at Theatre de la Musique, Paris, France. Extras: None.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Film Reviews
Buddy Bolden: Out of History's Shadows
By Victor L. Schermer
May 3, 2019
Film Reviews
Green Book: A Serious Comedy and Jazz Allegory
By Victor L. Schermer
December 28, 2018
Film Reviews
Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (2CD/Blu Ray)
By John Kelman
December 22, 2018
Film Reviews
Green Book Directed By Peter Farrelly
By Mike Perciaccante
December 3, 2018
Film Reviews
Rolling Stones: Voodoo Lounge Uncut
By Doug Collette
November 17, 2018
Film Reviews
Rolling Stone: Stories From The Edge - 50 Years of Defining Culture
By Doug Collette
October 7, 2018
Film Reviews
The US Festival 1982: The US Generation
By Doug Collette
September 2, 2018