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Soft Works - Abracadabra CD (album) cover


Soft Works


Canterbury Scene

3.02 | 15 ratings

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Dan Bobrowski
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a revival of former Soft Machine members, though few actually played together on any SM release. The musicians include Elton Dean (saxes, keyboards), John Marshall (drums), Hugh Hopper (bass) and Allan Holdsworth (guitar). A gathering of greats, to say the least. Elton Dean's sax is the center point of these recordings. He wrote the majority of these tunes and many have appeared in some fashion on his earlier works. This is a more straight ahead jazz album, little fusion and even less Canterbury. Holdsworth's signature sound is a perfect foil to Dean's long solos. Holdsworth has such a strong command of his instrument, however, he comes off a bit restrained on the majority of tunes. The only drawback, for me, is Holdsworth's use of synth on his chording sections. I've grow weary of the tone. I hope he just plays the strings on any future release, ala, "Home" from Metal Fatigue. A much more enjoyable sound for this type of music.

Marshall's playing is swinging and in the pocket. The interplay between Marshall and Holdsworth on Madame Vintage is spectacular, easily the highlight of the disc. Hugh Hopper's fuzzy bass tone anchors the players on their lofty solos. With hope, these guys will make another album.

Dan Bobrowski | 3/5 |


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