Monday, January 20, 2014

Soft Machine Legacy - Burden of Proof (MoonJune, 2013)

Soft Machine in its original form was a British pop/rock band that evolved from the late 1960’s psychedelic scene of London’s UFO club to a progressive rock/jazz fusion outfit in the early to mid 1970’s. This album pays tribute to the jazzier side of the band and features John Etheridge on electric guitar, Roy Babbington on bass guitar, John Marshall on drums and percussion and Theo Travis on tenor saxophone, flute and Fender rhodes piano. The nature of the music is to have longer performances in the 5-6 minute range broken up by snippets that are a minute or so in length. Saxophone and guitar harmonize well on the opening track “Burden of Proof” while “Voyage Beyond Seven” develops a quieter saxophone led section, amidst a spacey back drop. “Pie Chart” has Travis blasting out on tenor saxophone with a strong backbeat behind him. “Pie Chart” has some spiky guitar and raw, brawny saxophone. Drums come wailing out like a dervish on “The Brief” with bursts of saxophone trying to get a toehold amidst the thrilling onslaught, this wonderful short duet is one of the album’s highlights. Then the music shifts to a heavy guitar riff on “Pump Room” acting as a pivot grounding the rest of the band as they revolve around it. Etheridge then takes off on a strong solo of his own to take the song out. This was a solid album that clearly demonstrates that the band has left its psychedelic Canterbury roots far behind and has embraced muscular progressive jazz fusion. Burden Of Proof -

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