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Soft Machine Legacy - New Morning -The Paris Concert  CD (album) cover

NEW MORNING -THE PARIS CONCERT

Soft Machine Legacy

 

Canterbury Scene

4.17 | 6 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars When this legacy line-up reconvened in the early part of the 00 decade, the group had been laid to rest for over two decades, but the previous decade had seen a bunch of posthumous live releases and radio archives that had rekindled the Soft Machine flame. While containing Hugh Hopper in the new line-up (not an original SM member, but coming as close as possible), they wisely chose to add the legacy part to their name. Because if the group was talking the heritage, they didn't want to be SM as such or just sound like their own cover band: they wanted to write new material and maybe pay a little nod now and then to the SM discography here and there. The four members were never together at the same time in SM as Dean had departed the group when Etheridge had stepped in for Holdsworth circa the Bundles/Softs era, but the other three did play together.

And one thing the fan will notice is that the new SML group is certainly living up to its name, as they develop a very dynamic jazz- rock, where the "rock" part is definitely more present than in the Zaandam release of the previous years. The first few tracks are fairly indicative of the spirit of the concert, even if Baker's Treat is much slower, quieter and demonstrative, with Etheridge almost becoming psychedelic. Has Riff, one can feel is homage to As If (on the fifth album) while K1Q is the only undisguised SM track played throughout the set. The crowd is definitely SM connoisseur (not bondage you little voyeurs), but seem to be acting more like a jazz audience: applause after solos and moderate "exuberance" in between tracks. As usual in Francophone speaking countries, Hugh Hopper relates to the public in French (with Eheridge also clowning around) and, at least here, appears in charge of the group. Although Marshall's drum solo is (like all of them) a bit long and disruptive (although Etheridge pulls a semi-metal guitar shredding solo after it), he clearly shows he was SM's best (and longest staying) drummer after Wyatt.

Although when I saw them live very recently (with Theo Travis replacing the departed Elton Dean, the group is still quite at ease with this formula, but on that precise evening, they not only did K&Q (4), but As If (5) and Chloe (6) as well, but Dean's absence means that there is no more keyboards. Nevertheless this DVD is a pure joy to jazz-rock fans and is a must see, even if purists will prefer historical footage in the heydays. But believe this old grumpy fan, the first decade into the new millennium appears to be also heydays for the Legacy line-up..

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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