281

Soft Machine Legacy: Steam

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Soft Machine Legacy: Steam This ensemble's birthright continues via numerous personnel changes over the years as its longstanding members—bassist Hugh Hopper and drummer John Marshall—carry the proverbial torch. With sax great Elton Dean's passing in 2006, Soft Machine Legacy has regrouped and surged onward. Regardless, this effort looms as a milestone of sorts.

Multi-woodwind ace Theo Travis' presence looms mightily here, especially when mixing it up with legendary guitar virtuoso John Etheridge. One of the underlying factors on this release pertains to the quartet's divergent and angular mode of attack. It's uncluttered jazz-fusion, where space and depth are used as part of their arsenal amid numerous thematic reconstruction forays. Besides the improvisational aspects, the band's fabled infusion of whimsical Canterbury-era melodies remains intact. The musicians attain a happy medium that combines memorable hooks with tricky time signatures and killer riffing.

On "The Big Man, Marshall's polyrhythmic, African tom-tom patterns generate the underbelly for the soloists' psychedelic jazz/rock-like extrapolations. Travis and Etheridge perform with a vengeance throughout the disc, combining spacey elements with garrulous soloing maneuvers, while forging a group sound that generates a multi-textural scope. Combining punchy backbeats and complex jazz-based unison runs, the artists cover a wide-ranging musical vista.

Travis' whirling flute phrasings elicit notions of Jethro Tull flautist/front-man Ian Anderson to complement a mainstream jazz vibe on "Firefly. Moving forward, Travis subsequently employs soprano sax to ride atop Hopper's monster bass lines, where Marshall raises the bar during his extended, tour de force solo. Meanwhile, on "Dave Acto, Etheridge goes for the slam-dunk with ringing harmonics and lightning fast licks.

Sparks were unequivocally flying all over Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman's studio when Steam was recorded over three days in December 2006.

Track Listing: Footloose; The Steamer; The Big Man; Chloe & The Pirates; In The Back Room; The Last Day; Firefly; So English; Dave Acto; Anything To Anywhere.

Personnel: John Etheridge: electric guitar; Hugh Hopper: bass guitar, loops; John Marshall: drums, percussion; Theo Travis: tenor & soprano sax, flute, loops.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Moonjune Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Rough Boundaries" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Boundaries
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "The Complete Syllables Music" CD/LP/Track Review The Complete Syllables Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "This Is Where I Live" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Where I Live
by James Nadal
Published: June 20, 2016

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!