Artist/ Band: Soft Machine Legacy
Title: Live Adventures
Label: MoonJune Records
Year of Release: 2010
Offical Artist/ Band Link
- I might be in the minority but I truly have always loved Soft Machine “Softs” the most. But In fact, it was the 4th Soft Machine album I bought way back then. I had Thirds and their first two when I was a teen. Early Soft Machine were way more experimental jazz and quirky sometimes ( Robert Wyatt was with them and this was the 60's and 70's), which I really loved. But “Softs” came along and was this refined classical jazz rock, with great beauty much like the ECM series stuff I had been getting into for only a year at that time. Really nice keyboards were used and it also had John Marshall with some perfect drum work. So with this said, I LOVE Soft Machine Legacy. Some say this incarnation of Soft Machine is more mellow and less intense. They are pretty much correct but look guys!, these people are 30 or 40 something years older now. All of us old farts have to mellow and slow down some in the 50 and 60 range. Plus back when Soft Machine began, plenty of mushrooms, pot and LSD were all about, and these cats were young! You could run two miles without a pant back then, right? But now? You wouldn’t expect King Crimson to still be churning out every song like their “Red” period now would you? So why do people expect Soft Machine Legacy to still play like early 70's Soft Machine?
I think they do a wonderful job of bringing that same refined delicate and thoughtful jazz rock now, as they did on “Softs”, without the keyboards (which I miss a lot, but it sounds remarkably like keys are used on Song 5 “Song of Aeolus” ...which is from “Softs” YES!!!! God I love that song ). I also think Theo Travis does a fine job on saxes and flute. The other three members ( John Etheridge- guitar, Roy Babbington -bass and John Marshall - drums/percussion) are “Softs” period original members, which is a delight to me. No question about it, this is way more chill and adult jazz rock ( and I don’t mean adult contemporary.. Please NO!!! ) done in a less but not totally without an experimental manner.
I floated away again when “Song of Aeolus” came on. It was written by Karl Jenkins from original “Softs” album, and the band does this with crowning glory on this live CD. Just simply beautiful! Not much comes close to this slow sweeping very Andy Latimer sounding epic song. Needless to say if you like those tear jerking Camel songs like “Ice” and “Hymn To Her” then you will love this song. Might even make you go back and buy the “Softs” CD . ( it’s been remastered and reissued now *s*)
I don’t mean to make one think there is nothing but beautiful ballad style jazz rock here. You need to listen to song 6 ‘The Relegation of Pluto/Transit’ that is written by Travis and Marshall, if you want that aggressive experimental jazz. This includes a drum solo, and in this instance, you realize John Marshall is not slowing down. His playing is as clean as a whistle. ( I always loved his drumming on the old Eberhard Weber stuff). This song also has some close influences of 70's fusion jazz rock (ala Passport, Weather Report), and nail on the head mid period Soft Machine, when Holdsworth was with them. Song 8 “Facelift” is a special treat as it is by the late great High Hopper, so old SM fans can enjoy that. The last song is by Travis, and it fits right in, with a dreamy intro giving a very spacey atmosphere. It has that classic early Gong/Pink Floyd jam sound, but with a firm Soft Machine guiding hand. And the show is over.. leaving you relaxed and feeling good. That’s the ticket! RECOMMENDED!!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on November 20th, 2010
- 1. Has Riff II (8.30)
- 2. Grapehound (8.38)
- 3. The Nodder (7.03)
- 4. In the Back Room (9.42)
- 5. Song of Aeolus (6.58)
- 6. The Relegation of Pluto / Transit (3.02)
- 7. Gesolreut (5.52)
- 8. Facelift (3.28)
- 9. The Last Day (5.01)
Reviewed DiscographyRelated reviews by this artist/band at ProgNaut.com.
- A candid interview piece entitled, “In conversation with Soft Machine Legacy”
Reviewed DiscographyHere are other reviews by this artist at ProgNaut.com.
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