Bagatellen Reviews

From Bagatellen:

Jean-Luc Guionnet – Non-Organic Bias (Herbal International)

Malaysian sound artist Goh Lee Kwang began the new year in earnest, with several releases on his labels, Herbal and Why Not. Less enterprising than many labels in kind, and more a boutique project, Herbal International has managed to deal out one of the year’s most absorbing recordings, by French improviser and self-described […]

Harry Miller’s Isipingo – Full Steam Ahead

Cape Town-born bassist Harry Miller was already well-established in London jazz circles, playing with figures like Kenneth Terroade, John Surman and Mike Westbrook, by the time fellow South Africans the Blue Notes arrived on the UK scene in 1966. It wasn’t until about five years later that Miller joined former Blue Notes […]

Soft Machine – Drop

Mention the word “Canterbury” in certain circles and the likely reference is “Soft Machine.” Followers of the group’s transition from quirky psychedelia to a relentless and anthemic jazz-rock hybrid seem split on whether they like their Softs with Robert Wyatt’s otherworldly vocal whimsy or with only his drumming propelling organist Mike Ratledge, bassist […]

FAB Trio and Nu Band on Porter

Bassist-composer Joe Fonda has been a stalwart figure in the international creative improvisation community since the late ‘70s, though his fifteen years of regular appearances with reedman-composer Anthony Braxton probably stand out the most in his lengthy discography. However, it would be incomplete to call Fonda solely a Braxton acolyte – his work with pianist […]

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Bagatellen Reviews

From Bagatellen:

Soft Machine – Drop
Mention the word “Canterbury” in certain circles and the likely reference is “Soft Machine.” Followers of the group’s transition from quirky psychedelia to a relentless and anthemic jazz-rock hybrid seem split on whether they like their Softs with Robert Wyatt’s otherworldly vocal whimsy or with only his drumming propelling organist Mike Ratledge, bassist […]

FAB Trio and Nu Band on Porter
Bassist-composer Joe Fonda has been a stalwart figure in the international creative improvisation community since the late ‘70s, though his fifteen years of regular appearances with reedman-composer Anthony Braxton probably stand out the most in his lengthy discography. However, it would be incomplete to call Fonda solely a Braxton acolyte – his work with pianist […]

Dominic Duval/Jimmy Halperin – Monk Dreams
“Monkish” is one of those descriptors that’s unavoidable in writing about jazz – Thelonious Monk’s imprint on the landscape of modern jazz and improvised music is huge and, more importantly, incredibly diverse. Odd-interval repetition, rhythmic bounce and dissonant delicacy have come to characterize a large segment of players, and soprano […]

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Moon June Records to Release Archival Soft Machine

6 Soft Machine CDs (2)
Image by svennevenn via Flickr

From Moon June Records:

This CD documents an often overlooked phase in the long and complex history of Soft Machine – Australian drummer Phil Howard‘s five-month interim behind the drum stool between Robert Wyatt‘s departure and his eventual long-term replacement John Marshall. It did last long enough to record half of the studio album “Fifth” (1972) and a couple of BBC radio sessions, but until now no official document of that line-up in its preferred environment – the stage. Howard was brought into Soft Machine by saxophonist Elton Dean, both being members of Elton’s side project Just Us, and under their combined influence the band became freer and wilder than ever before (or after) in its existence, pushing longtime leaders Mike Ratledge and Hugh Hopper into unchartered areas of electric madness. Before long they’d decided this wasn’t the way to go, but meanwhile the line-up had antagonised audiences throughout extensive tours of the UK and Europe. This CD documents the German leg of the tour and, as veteran music journalist Steve Lake notes in his detailed liner notes, is a revelation – a glimpse of a highly exciting alternative route Soft Machine decided not to explore further.

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