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Soft Machine Legacy - Live Adventures CD (album) cover

LIVE ADVENTURES

Soft Machine Legacy

 

Canterbury Scene

3.86 | 11 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Although earlier releases by Soft Machine Legacy seemed to continue the music of parent band Soft Machine, 'Live Adventures' finds the band returning to a style that was popular just before Soft Machine decided to go jazz fusion back in 1970. This live CD is pure jazz rock the way it was invented by young Brits like John McLaughlin, Brian Auger, Ian Carr, Colloseum and Jack Bruce. Early jazz rock was rooted in the blues and hard bop, but was given heavier accents with electric guitars and Fender Rhodes pianos. A typical jazz rock song from this early era often matched a heavy blues-rock riff, played by a unison of saxophone and guitar, with a semi-free swingin hard bop beat. In America that style was picked up by Larry Coryell, Charles Lloyd and Jeremy Steig, but as more American veteran jazz musicians became involved, influences such as Latin jazz, funk, and popular African music led to jazz rock becoming fusion.

Although Soft Machine Legacy is invoking an earlier style here, this CD does not sound dated at all. Drummer John Marshall adds some nice subtle contemporary hip-hop swing to his beats, as well as some of that modern drum line approach in his snare fills. All three of the other members seem to have access to modern atmospheric digital effects that are used very sparingly and always in good taste. On 'The Relegation of Pluto', the combination of spacey echoed flute lines and ambient electronics recalls some of the quiet moments on Miles' 'Agharta' album. Other riff oriented albums that come to mind while listening to this include McLaughlin's 'Devotion' and 'Extrapolation', as well as Miles' 'Jack Johnson' and 'We want Miles'. Speaking of the classic British jazz rock sound, on "Aeolus', Legacy plays one of those heavy diminished scale sax-guitar riffs that were featured on tunes such as King Crimson's 'Pictures of a City'.

This is an excellent CD, classic jazz rock played with an updated sound and modern rhythms, one of the best jazz rock CDs I have heard in a long time. I know there are other people out there still playing this style, but they don't get it right, too much high speed playing and too many 'squeal' harmonics. Legacy has some things going for them that are missing from most modern jazz rock bands; a sense of moderation, a lot of soul, and most importantly, a disdain for 'flash'.

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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