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Soft Machine: Live in Paris (remaster)

Originally released on CD a few years ago by One Way Records, this 2 CD live set by Soft Machine was recorded May 2nd, 1972, now rescued from the "out of print" vaults and remastered by Cuneiform Records. Besides the fantastic performance of the band, the other notable reason to seek out this release is the fact that it is one of the few live recordings ever of the short-lived line-up of Elton Dean (sax/electric piano), Hugh Hopper (bass), John Marshall (drums), and Mike Ratledge (electric piano/organ.)

Even more so than most of the other previously available Soft Machine releases, Live in Paris is primarily a jazz album, as the band is extremely laid back, grooving and soloing with more restraint than you would usually hear them, but adventurous and groundbreaking nontheless. Ratledge's organ solos take on a rather distorted, reed-like quality, and his electric piano passages ring with majestic tones, much like Chick Corea, Jan Hammer, or Herbie Hancock. Elton Dean, who is the other main soloist in the band, squonks and soars throughout-check out his melodic leads on the smooth "Slightly All The Time" for a perfect example of his far reaching talents, complete with Marshall and Hopper pounding away with some complex rhythms. Surprisingly, the material covered on this set is mostly from the Third and Fifth albums, which is a bit looser and allows more room for extended blowing, as opposed to the more complex and structured tunes from the Fourth album. Fear not though, as favorites such as "Facelift" (all 17+ minutes of it), "Out Bloody-Rageous" and "At Sixes" are covered with superb results.

This is an essential recording from one of progressive music's treasured bands. So sit back , pop the 2 discs into your changer, and get ready for over 90 minutes of prime Soft Machine, as jazzy and far reaching as they have ever been.

Track Listing
Disc One
1) Plain Tiffs (3:30)
2) All White (6:23)
3) Slightly All the Time (13:07)
4) Drop (7:49)
5) M.C. (2:59)
6) Out-Bloody Rageous (13:22)
Disc Two
7) Facelift (17:50)
8) And Sevens (8:54)
9) As If (8:27)
10) LBO (6:07)
11) Pigling Bland (6:04)
12) At Sixes (10:35)

Added: June 14th 2004
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Cuneiform Records
Hits: 3172
Language: english

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