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SOFT MACHINE LEGACY

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Soft Machine Legacy biography
SOFT MACHINE have been a much loved band since their inception, in the late 1960s and have always been at the cutting edge of many music genres, including the early progressive and psychedelic rock scene and then the burgeoning jazz rock and fusion scene (thanks to Miles Davis, John McLaughlin and other such innovators; major influences on many musicians at the time). It was thus inevitable that former SOFT MACHINE members would reconvene over the years, to continue on their legacy. The first such conception in 1999, was SOFT WARE, which featured Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, John Marshall and long-time friend Keith Tippett. This line-up would only remain together briefly. Then in 2002, another former Softs member, Allan Holdsworth, joins the remaining three members of SOFT WARE and would rename themselves SOFT WORKS. They recorded just the one album "Abracadabra" (see their separate entry), which consisted of all new material.

After the success of SOFT WORKS, the three former members of this outfit, Hugh Hopper (bass guitar), Elton Dean (saxophones) and John Marshall (drums & percussion), decided to continue on, but this time with a different guitar legend (and yet another former SOFT MACHINE alumni), John Etheridge (who uncannily replaced Allan Holdsworth not just once, but twice in their careers), under the moniker of SOFT MACHINE LEGACY.

Their first foray onto CD, was a recording of some of their live repertoire from their gig in Zaandam in the Netherlands on 10th May 2005. They followed this up with a studio album "Soft Machine Legacy", which was released in 2006 (having been recorded in September 2005) and featured once again, fresh material. The band then did further touring and it was from their Paris concert at the New Morning, that they released a live DVD, "New Morning - The Paris Concert" and then a 2-CD audio-only release of the same concert "Live at the New Morning".

This, however, was to be the last time Elton Dean was to be seen on a DVD. He sadly passed away on 8th February 2006 in London, aged just 60 years of age. The New Morning releases were released posthumously and would be a final tribute to a saxophone legend who was well respected in many musical fields.

After this sudden loss, the rest of the band felt it apt to continue on. They found a suitable replacement for their forthcoming tour, in the name of Theo Travis. Theo has been on the musical scene himself for sometime and has built up a reputatio...
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Buy SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Music


Burden Of ProofBurden Of Proof
Moonjune Records 2013
Audio CD$11.71
$7.99 (used)
SteamSteam
Moonjune Records 2007
Audio CD$9.54
$6.22 (used)
Live AdventuresLive Adventures
Moonjune Records 2010
Audio CD$10.93
$16.98 (used)
Soft Machine LegacySoft Machine Legacy
Import
Moonjune 2006
Audio CD$11.99
$11.99 (used)
Soft Machine LegacySoft Machine Legacy
inakustik Label Group 2006
Audio CD$5.67
$19.42 (used)
Soft Machine LegacySoft Machine Legacy
Musea/Moonjune 2006
Audio CD$11.20 (used)
Live In ZaandamLive In Zaandam
Musea/Moonjune 2005
Audio CD$17.06
$87.14 (used)
Soft Machine LegacySoft Machine Legacy
Import
UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN 2006
Audio CD$32.93
$12.89 (used)
Soft Machine Legacy Live Adventures Other Modern JazzSoft Machine Legacy Live Adventures Other Modern Jazz
Records
Audio CD$32.47
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SOFT MACHINE LEGACY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 13 ratings
Soft Machine Legacy
2006
3.75 | 13 ratings
Steam
2007
3.73 | 26 ratings
Burden of Proof
2013

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 8 ratings
Live in Zaandam
2005
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live at the New Morning
2006
3.86 | 11 ratings
Live Adventures
2010

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.17 | 6 ratings
New Morning -The Paris Concert
2006

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SOFT MACHINE LEGACY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Soft Machine Legacy is a bunch of musicians who continued in the same mood Soft Machine once did. They have earlier recorded two records 2006 and 2007 and now comes their third one "Burden of Proof" 2013. The cover seems to be a notepad or a wallpaper with handprints on. These people play on this disc: John Etheridge plays guitar, Roy Babbington plays bass, John Marshall plays drums and percussion and The Travis plays tenor sax, flute and fender rhodes piano.

I would say the music of this record is very enjoyable. Their music has an important aura of jazz and the strength is that it also is true melodic. Many tracks have more jazz jam feeling than melodic but I think it's the more melodic ones that win in the end. Essential for the art of this record is the amazing saxophone, played by The Travis.

Canterbury Scene is an interesting genre but this music is much more fusion for me than Canterbury. The genre has its fractions and I have never listened to Soft Machine, perhaps it's therefore I don't connect this with Canterbury.

Anyhow is this great music and of sourse I have som favourites on this album. Two perfect tracks, four very good, six good and one less interesting build up the whole. "Pie Chart" and especially "Black and Crimson" are the perfect power jazz songs of this, where I think the band really shimmers. "Burden of Proof", "Kings and Queens", "Going Somewhere Canarous" and "Pump Room" are also amazing tracks. The only one I felt was boring was "Fallout". For me, this was a perfect example of its genre, which I would classify fusion rock. Recommended!

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 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band SOFT MACHINE LEGACY is the longest lasting of a succession of bands formed by former members of the legendary UK band Soft Machine. This particular continuation of The Soft Machine was formed in 2004, and have since then performed live on a number of occasions, documented on three CDs and one DVD, and from 2006 and onwards they have been recording and releasing new material as well. "Burden of Proof" is their third studio production, released by Moonjune Records in 2013.

Soft Machine Legacy have made themselves a strong third studio album with "Burden of Proof": excellent musicianship throughout, with an attention to subtle details many artists could learn a lot from. The sheer diversity in style will make this one an uneven experience for many, but those with a taste for instrumental jazz rock will find plenty to enjoy on this one, and those among them who are thrilled by improvised material with more of a free-form expression just as much as by more tightly controlled and performed compositions should find this CD to be a most thrilling experience indeed.

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 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars If you're a Progger that has a minimum of interest in what happened in the early days you're aware of the Soft Machine name. Soft Machine was a band that existed between 1968 and 1981 or so and released many albums, especially in the Jazz Rock/Fusion field.

In the early 2000's the band got together again, but as it wasn't the original line up anymore they decided to form an 'almost' new band, Soft Machine Legacy and so far they have released a mix of albums. The live albums have Soft Machine old works mixed with new tracks. The studio albums are filled with completely new material.

Burden Of Proof (2013) is their 3rd studio album and it was released by Moonjune Records with Esoteric Antenna distribution. The album was produced by the band itself and recorded by another big name in the Jazz Fusion scene, Beppe Crovella, at the Electromantic Synergy Studio, in San Sebastiano da Po, Italy, in August 2012.

If you know the band's sound already you'll not be surprised with what you're going to find in Burden Of Proof (2013). John Marshall (drums and percussions), Theo Travis (saxophones, flutes and piano), John Etheridge (guitars) and Roy Babbington (bass) keep delivering the Jazz Fusion of the previous works.

The album starts with the title-track and soon jumps to 'Voyage Beyond Seven'. The third track, the guitar-driven 'Kitto' is quite interesting. But so far the Smoky Jazz Club feeling of 'Pie Chart' is the most interesting, full of great saxophones lines the music takes you for a ride, like a movie.

'JSP' is nothing more than a minute noise, and quite unnecessary on the album. The following track, 'Kings And Queens' is another great example on the album, hypnotic bass riff and great flute work. 'Fallout' is one more good track full of weird tempo riffs. The middle gets a bit boring tough. Then comes another quick-one-minute kind of track 'Going Somewhere Canorous?', another unnecessary piece of music.

'Black And Crimson' continues with the Burden Of Proof (2013) path and by now it's very clear that Soft Machine Legacy is a great band when they actually write their material with a good melody line, like on this one. They're a far better band then when they just keep playing in some improvised jam. Especially after the next track 'The Brief', then it's even more clear.

To finish the album we have 3 more tracks. 'Pump Room', a good mid-tempo theme with weird guitar solos and 'Green Cubes' comes in the improvised format again. The last one is 'They Landed On A Hill' with its space rock feeling of emptiness.

Burden Of Proof (2013) is for sure the best album of Soft Machine Legacy so far, but really not my cup of tea. Maybe I'm not the best person around to review a Jazz Fusion album, but the improvised-jam-in-the-studio kind of thing bothers me. For my own good sake in this album the band decided to bet their coins in a 50/50 game. And when they play rehearsed compositions they do great!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars Were they going somewhere canorous? No, they landed on a hill, black and crimson, a pump room near Kitto, filled with green cubes and kings and queens! After the brief fallout, they started a JSP voyage beyond seven, something like a pie chart! Always remaining connected to its planet Soft Machine by keeping alive and (re)interpreting a few of the heritated tunes - this time Kings and Queens - the Legacy satellite moves anyway on its own revolutions, broad in its scope and ambition, impacting the new with no fear and a considerably contagious strength of life fueled by a surprising juvenile joviality. What's their secret? Probably how to handle the burden of proof!

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 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The Softs are back with their first studio album since the passing of Hugh Hopper in 2008, as incredibly it is six years since the release of 'Steam'. The line-up is John Etheridge (electric guitar), Roy Babbington (bass), John Marshall (drums and percussion) and Theo Travis (tenor sax, flute, piano), which has to make it one of the longest serving line-ups in the extremely long history of the band (either as The Soft Machine, Soft Machine, The Softs, or Soft Machine Legacy). They may have been going down this furrow of jazz-fusion for more than thirty years, but they still don't show any sign at all of slowing down or running out of ideas. A special mention must go to Andrew Tulloch who mixed and mastered this album as the sound is incredible, allowing every touch and nuance to shine through.

The album is a combination of pre-agreed structures and melodies with improvisation and the result is a delight from the beginning to end. The interaction between all of the musicians is of the type that only comes with years of playing in this sort of environment, where there is trust between everyone and a firm understanding of what they are all working towards. "Kings & Queens" is a masterpiece of understatement with Roy's simple repeated bassline allowing the others to expand the theme. While on "Fallout" Roy and John Etheridge start the piece linked as one, in perfect harmony and control before they start to expand. Everyone interested in fusion and jazz will have come across Soft Machine sometime in their musical education, and take it from me that 'Burden of Proof' is a more than worthy addition to their body of work. www.moonjune.com

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 Burden of Proof by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 26 ratings

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Burden of Proof
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Wow, Why have I've been missing this for years?

After almost 40 years of listening Progressive Rock, that regional sub-genre called "Canterbury Scene" has remained as a mystery unsolved for me. It is Prog, no doubt about this, but is it also Jazz, Psychedelia or Folk? Maybe is it a delicate blend of all the previous tags. Well each band is a totally different universe, in this case SOFT MACHINE LEGACY combines elements of Jazz, Psyche, a hint of Folk and Rock, with unusual dexterity, to the point that a Symphonic fanatic as me, enjoyed their latest release Burden of Proof from start to end despite not being my first option of music.

When opened the album that Leonardo Pavkovic from "Moonjune Records" kindly sent me, was surprised to find that since the release of Steam, the solid bassist Hugh Hopper was no longer with them (Just learned last week he had passed away), but no matter how much I liked his style and recognize his abilities, I find that Roy Babbington is simply amazing.

It's also refreshing to find that despite the years of activity, the band is able to evolve, if Steam was almost exclusively Jazz, Burden of Proof is a fantastic combination of sounds, styles, genres and moods that takes the listener trough different musical soundscapes that seem to have been created to be fused. There's no time for rest, each song and passage is a different surprise.

It's hard for me to make a song by song review, not being an expert in the genre, but I know what I like so will mention some of my favorite songs, starting with the elaborate opener Burden of Proof where John Etheridge interplays with Roy Babbington, while Theo Travis is allowed to wander to add the magic and John Marshal in the drums is like the glue that keeps the individual efforts together. Simply delightful.

Of course I have to mention Kitto, a chance for John Etheridge to demonstrate how skilled he is. What I found surprising is the unusual atmosphere he creates, something I would expect more in Terje Rypdal, but as I said before, this musicians are really versatile and able to musically satisfy listeners of different genres.......1.50 minutes of refreshing and adventurous music.

The complex Kings and Queens is another favorite, because they leave Jazz territory in order to offer us an oneiric Psychedelic trip that reminds me of early Proto Prog, but this time with a sweet and mysterious flute to add a folksy touch. Prog fans will be delighted with this marvelous song.

Last but not least, I need to mention the mind-blowing Black and Crimson, an extremely interesting experiment, where Etheridge sticks to a Santana oriented melody, while Babbington, Travis and Marshal are liberated from any tie to the main theme and allowed to do whatever they want in Free Jazz style. Please pay special attention to Babbington's performance, because it's breathtaking.

The fact that I mention only a few tracks doesn't mean that I don't like the others (Damn, I forgot the frantic Green Cubes), because all the material in the album is extremely interesting with no weak moments, but if I were to mention all musical pieces, would need several pages and would be impossible to read due to the length.

The rating is only an anecdote, because if I could I'd go with 4.5 stars, but being that Prog Archive only admits full stars, will go with 4.

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 Live Adventures by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Live, 2010
3.86 | 11 ratings

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Live Adventures
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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. www.moonjune.com

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 Soft Machine Legacy by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.60 | 13 ratings

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Soft Machine Legacy
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars review originally written for www.jazzmusicarchives.com

The first Soft Machine Legacy studio album is very much a John Etheridge work. Yes, there are at least two original core-members from the original Soft Machine on board - sax player Elton Dean and bassist Hugh Hopper, and fourth member, drummer John Marshall, has a much longer history in the original Soft Machine than guitarist John Etheridge himself.

Even more - half of the material on this release is old Soft Machine compositions, reworked for this album. But the thing I missed most in this album's music is Soft Machine's spirit. All of this music is fully instrumental and balances somewhere between jazz-rock and instrumental rock, but comparing this with the classic Soft Machine sound reveals a lack of complexity and spirit.

On this album four Canterbury Scene veterans play relaxed and a bit unfocused hard rock variations on themes from Soft Machine's legacy. All of these musicians were original members of Soft Machine in different times, and even more strange that they often sound like a quality tribute band. This music is generally straight forward heavy-edged instrumental rock with an overloaded and almost shredding guitar sound. Hopper's bass is somewhere deep under the surface and generally has no influence on the whole sound. Dean's sax solos are sad, uninspired and sound more like attractive add-ons than part of the music. It's a pity that Dean's last released work (he died a few months after this album's release) isn't his best or greatest work.

This album is mostly for Soft Machine/Canterbury Scene collectors and heavy fans.

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 Live Adventures by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover Live, 2010
3.86 | 11 ratings

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Live Adventures
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by 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'.

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 New Morning -The Paris Concert  by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.17 | 6 ratings

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New Morning -The Paris Concert
Soft Machine Legacy Canterbury Scene

Review by darkprinceofjazz

5 stars This is some of the best Modern jazz i have ever heard, think Medeski Martin and Wood meets later period John Coltrane. If your not into Coltrane's selflessness or transition albums, forget this. Enough rockish funkified beats here and there , but a lot of avant guard sounds on this. the Soprano saxophone here is top of the line and full of emotion. the guitar especially the last 30 minutes is white hot. and very unorthadox. when i say medeski martin and wood , meets john coltrane, i am not kidding. this is 90 percent modern jazz, and 10 percent rock. since i like jazz ,i liked this, if you don't, you won't,

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