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Soft Machine Legacy - Live Adventures CD (album) cover


Soft Machine Legacy


Canterbury Scene

3.87 | 21 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Soft Machine were formed in 1966, and have long been seen as one of the most influential of all of the 'Canterbury Scene'. Over the years they had quite a few musicians through their ranks, but by the early Eighties it appeared that it was finally over with everyone going their separate ways. However, in 2002, four former Soft Machine members - Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean, John Marshall and Allan Holdsworth - toured and recorded under the name Soft Works. From late 2004 onwards, with John Etheridge replacing Holdsworth, they have toured and recorded as Soft Machine Legacy. Elton Dean passed away in February 2006, and the band continued with British saxophonist and flautist Theo Travis (formerly of Gong and The Tangent). In 2008 Hopper was sidelined by leukemia and the band continued live performances with Fred Baker, although following Hopper's death in 2009, the band announced that it would continue with Roy Babbington once again stepping into the role formerly held by Hopper, as he had done previously in 1973 after the release of 'Six'.

It is this line-up that was recorded at two dates in October 2009 that makes up this album. Apart from Theo, all of those involved had played and recorded with the Softs in the Seventies so what we have here is not some hackneyed tribute band, but one that is truly valid and able to bring the incredible jazz and fusion of the band's history back to life. These guys know the songs intimately, as well as each other, and the result is a seamless electric performance that will delight fans of any era of the band. They certainly progressed and changed over the years, yet they have refused to rest on the history and instead the vast majority of the songs are from 'Steam' with just a few such as 'Facelift' and 'Song of Aeolus' from the distant past.

My personal favourite is probably 'The Nodder' which contains a delicacy and control that is sublime, with John getting some wonderful notes out of his guitar. If you enjoy your fusion then this is very much for you.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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