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Live In Zaandam

Artist: Soft Machine Legacy

Date of Release: 15/06/2005

Catalogue no: MJR006

Label: MoonJune Records

Price: £9

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Ash

11.41

2

 

One Two One Two

12.04

3

listen

Baker's Treat

6.55

4

listen

Kings & Queens

9.14

5

 

Two Down

2.43

6

 

Big Creese

8.32

 

 

 

 

ELTON DEAN alto sax, saxello, Fender Rhodes
JOHN ETHERIDGE guitar
HUGH HOPPER bass guitar
JOHN MARSHALL drums

Powerfull jazz-rock fusion, British “Canterbury” style, from the legendary Soft Machine alumni. Live in Zaandam is the first salvo from Soft Machine Legacy, combining visceral grooves with sizzling solos and telepathic interplay. Founding SML members Hugh Hopper (bass), John Etheridge (guitar), John Marshall (drums) and the late Elton Dean (1946-2006

 

Reviews

 

03/05/2006 JEFF MELTON - EXPOSÉ MAGAZINE, USA

MoonJune Records exec Leonardo Pavokovic is not one to give up on his dream of the ultimate Soft Machine line-up. His endeavors to date have culminated in the Softworks CD and tours between 2002-2004 but this was met with mixed success despite the creditable line-up that included Allan Holdsworth on guitar. 2005 brought the opportunity to include John Etheridge (replacing Holdsworth) for a newer more vital incarnation with distinct links back to Soft Machine Five. Three tracks in this limited edition CD are live recordings of previous material while three others are new tracks worked up specifically for the European tour. Etheridge's song 'Ash' opens the disc with his distinctive tone that now resembles a careful blend of John Scofield and Mike Stern circa their stint with the 80s Miles Davis band. His nimble fingers sprint across the fret board showing adept restraint as Elton Dean doubles the lead line on saxello. Dean's own piece, 'Baker's Treat' is the only live songs from the Soft Works sessions and it succeeds here as a pensive ballad. Bass monster, Hugh Hopper reprises his classic piece from Soft Machine Fourth, 'Kings

 

01/01/2006 VITALIJ MENSHIKOV - PROGRESSOR MAGAZINE, UZBEKISTAN

“Welcome back to the ranks, Soft Machine! ‘Legacy’ is a gem; clever, tasteful music, with an atmosphere, which is both mysterious and mesmerizing."

 

01/01/2006 DUNCAN HEINING - JAZZWISE MAGAZINE< UK

“Anyone who caught this band on their recent European tour will have to have this one. Anyone that didn’t, should do themselves a favor and get to hear what they missed. Not only is the playing as fresh and vital as ever. Not only is the formula tried, tested and hugely serviceable, but there’s a real desire to go out and make this music. <...> Excellent stuff!”

 

17/11/2005 GLEN ASTARITA - ALL ABOUT JAZZ

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...

 

12/10/2005 DMITRI EPSTEIN - LET IT ROCK, ISRAEL

Getting in and out of sight, the way SOFT MACHINE roll on seems unstoppable, not least because the band's many line-ups allow former members come together in any combination and still sound canonical. Or not so canonical, as the band that visited Zaandam on May 10th, 2005 lean more towards highly charged jazz fusion rather than progressive experimentation - judging by this limited edition concert recording which is only a part of what was played on that night. It starts elegiac, with John Etheridge and Elton Dean popping interplay of guitar and sax on "Ash", gains momentum when Hugh Hopper's bass and John Marshall's drums hit the bottom and clicks into Coltrane-esque groove on a new Hopper's tune, "1212". Yet the groove and the momentum are emotional, while the rhythmic extravaganza is mostly withdrawn from here. Still, exotic ebbing and quirky patterns are retained in classic "Kings And Queens" and let loose on "Big Cheese" where the instruments jolt as if to get back to the time the legacy of which this MACHINE fully live up to.

 

01/09/2005 JOHN KELMAN - ALL ABOUT JAZZ

With a recent surge of interest in the 1970s jazz/rock ensemble Soft Machine encouraged by a wealth of archival recordings, some may view use of the word “Soft” by past members to be opportunistic — but that would be unfair. 2003 witnessed Soft Works, with ex-Softs bassist Hugh Hopper, saxophonist Elton Dean, drummer John Marshall, and guitarist Allan Holdsworth creating a more fusion-centric band. More recently, Soft Bounds—again with Hopper and Dean—has mined a more acoustic and free space with non-Softs pianist Sophia Domancich and drummer Simon Goubert. Polysoft’s Tribute to Soft Machine teamed Hopper and Dean with the French group Polysons, revisiting classic Soft Machine material and coming the closest any group has to true homage. Other efforts share the common denominator of Hopper and Dean. And despite these various offshoots capturing aspects of the greater whole that was Soft Machine, with the exception of Polysoft they’ve avoided direct reference, performing little, if any, material from Soft Machine’s own discography. Hopper and Dean have moved on, and so these offshoot projects have reflected their growth and interest in a clearer jazz aesthetic than Soft Machine’s high-decibel approach. Soft Works generated the most buzz, because it was the first time a group of all-Soft Machine alumni had come together for a project. The resulting album, Abracadabra, while good, was also something of a disappointment, largely because Holdsworth’s characteristic perfectionism sucked some of the life out of it. And so, with Hopper, Dean, and Marshall wanting to continue on and Holdsworth bowing out, guitarist John Etheridge—who coincidentally replaced Holdsworth in Soft Machine—was recruited. The first of two planned recordings (a studio release is due next year), Live in Zaandam finds the newly-minted Soft Machine Legacy approaching music with a more intrepid and open spirit. Etheridge may not have as big a reputation as Holdsworth, but in his own way he’s a more versatile guitarist, having worked in a variety of contexts over the years including a Stephane Grapelli tribute, a project devoted to Frank Zappa's music, and duo collaborations with ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers. Like Soft Works, Soft Machine Legacy is a more overtly fusion-oriented project than the other offshoots. This time the group also mixes classic Soft Machine material with more recent compositions from each member. Etheridge’s “Ash,” from his 2003 album of the same name, is a strong vehicle for Dean’s lyrical yet free approach and Etheridge’s fleet-fingered runs, while his “Big Creese” rocks more than any prior Soft-related project. The group revisits Dean’s ballad “Baker’s Street,” a twist on Soft Works’ version, “Baker’s Treat.” Hopper’s “1212” shifts rhythmic gears more than once but revolves around a diminished chord vamp where interplay is key, something that's equally vital to the group's extended and more open take on “Kings and Queens,” originally from Soft Machine’s Fourth. Structure plays an important part in this music, but more as a general framework. Less restrained and more adventurous than Soft Works, Live in Zaandam is the first from a new collective that will hopefully have greater longevity as well.

 

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