Soft Machine - The Dutch Lesson 2 x CDs

SKU Rune 490/491
Roy Babbington : Electric 6-string bass
Karl Jenkins : Soprano sax, baritone sax, oboe, electric piano

John Marshall : Drums

Mike Ratledge : Electric piano, organ

From their beginnings as a psychedelic rock band in 1966, sharing stages with Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, to being one of the originators of electric jazz/rock by early 1969, Britain’s Soft Machine were restlessly creative. The Dutch Lesson captures them in late October, 1973.
By 1973 Soft Machine already had a long history of playing in Rotterdam. This time they were booked in a smaller venue, which they filled to capacity at around 400. Part of an arts complex originally known as Ons Huis, De Lantaren had recently been renovated into a theatre and music venue.
In attendance that October night was Bert Boogaard, a record store owner at the time, sitting in the front row with a Uher portable tape machine, and we have him to thank for this excellent ambient recording of the performance.
The band as a whole is a real powerhouse, nowhere better exemplified than on the encore, an infectiously funky fuzz organ-led jam based on the “Gesolreut” riff. Generally the tempos are much faster than usual, making the originals feel leisurely in comparison (“37½” is a case in point), and even when they aren’t, as with “The Soft Weed Factor,” an unexpected switch to double time makes up for it.
Within a couple of weeks of this Dutch mini-tour, Soft Machine would enter a new phase of its history when, initially for a one-off Musicians’ Union workshop, the quartet teamed up with guitarist Allan Holdsworth, a successful experiment repeated on two dates in Ireland before Holdsworth was made a full member in time for the band’s Christmas Party at the Roundhouse.
Expanding the line-up to a quintet was to prove what had been needed to propel Soft Machine and its music to the next level. But although the fifth man would change several times in the interim, the quartet of Mike Ratledge, Karl Jenkins, Roy Babbington and John Marshall would remain in place for nearly three years, until Ratledge’s departure in April 1976—a very long time by Soft Machine’s standards, and a sure sign of shared musical affinity.
  • LabelCuneiform
  • UPC045775049021
Your Price $21.00

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