Hopper, Hugh - Volume 6: Special Friends

SKU 28-GZO248.2
Subtitled: 'Hugh's Compositions In The Hands Of Friends', this features Didier Malherbe, Phil Miller, Hugh and Pip Pyle or Elton Dean, Phil Miller, Gael Horelou, Hugh and Pip Pyle.

"Hugh Hopper’s return to active service following a five-year sabbatical in 1984 saw him resume his rhythmic partnership with Pip Pyle, begun in 1978 with Soft Heap. In fact Pyle’s band Equip’Out, the first band Hugh joined, was in part a continuation of that band, with Elton Dean on sax and French pianist Sophia Domancich replacing the late Alan Gowen. Soon after his first tour with Equip’Out, Hugh also joined Phil Miller’s In Cahoots, again alongside Elton and Pip. Having recorded an album with each band, by 1988 Hugh had left both and moved on to pastures new, joining Anaïd and Lindsay Cooper’s Oh Moscow ! band as well as touring extensively with his own FrangloDutch Band.

Thanks to Philippe Renaud, a longtime fan, journalist and associate programmer of the Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans, it would only be three years until Hugh, Pip and Phil were reunited, with Didier Malherbe (a one-time member of Equip’Out in addition to his shared past with Pip in Gong circa Camembert Électrique), first as Hugh Hopper & Special Friends, then under the collective banner of Short Wave. The one-off performance in May 1991 was well-received and much enjoyed by the principals, so offers of further dates were gladly accepted, leading to regular touring, mostly in France, over the next five years. The inappropriately titled Live album, containing a mixture of old and new material and studio or live recordings, appeared in 1993.

The quartet’s initial impetus carried it forward until it ground to a halt due to personal projects taking precedence. The previously unreleased « For Alan », Hugh’s tribute to his old friend Alan Gowen, was the only new composition to emerge for a possible follow-up album, and was thankfully captured for posterity on an excellent soundboard recording of a 1994 gig in Brussels which also included Hugh’s classic « Sliding Dogs ». Also included are three tracks from one of no less than four appearances by the quartet at Jacky Barbier’s club in Burgundy – the same performance that had yielded the last couple of tracks on the Live CD, although it didn’t say so in the credits. Two Hopper classics, « Miniluv » and « Wanglo-Saxon », appear alongside « Midnight Judo », a beautiful flute feature first heard on Equip’Out’s debut album.

The last part of the CD was recorded at Jacky Barbier’s yearly birthday celebration at his club in Bresse-sur-Grosne, of which Hugh was a frequent participant. On the occasion Phil, Hugh and Pip were joined by Elton Dean, who had occasionally augmented Short Wave on selected gigs, and the quartet played a largely improvised set. With all four having shared membership of In Cahoots in 1985-87 it was no surprise that elements of « Wanglo-Saxon » provided a loose structure for part of the improvisation.

All in all, this CD serves as a testimony to the great chemistry between five musicians of impressive pedigree whose shared musical endeavours kept the Canterbury scene alive through the 1980s and 1990s – Hugh’s special friends in every possible sense of these words."-Aymeric Leroy
  • LabelGonzo
  • UPC5060230864532
Your Price $17.00

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