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SOFT MACHINE - MoonJune Years
featuring: JOHN ETHERIDGE, THEO TRAVIS, ROY BABBINGTON, JOHN MARSHALL and former members ELTON DEAN (died in 2005), HUGH HOPPER (died in 2009), ALLAN HOLDSWORTH (died in 2017).
Soft Machine having been a much loved band since their inception in the late 1960s and having always been at the cutting edge of many music genres (including the early progressive and psychedelic rock scene and then the burgeoning jazz rock and fusion scene), it was inevitable that former Soft Machine members would reconvene over the years, to continue on their legacy.
Soft Ware (1999–2002) and Soft Works (2002–2004)
The first such conception in September 1999 was Soft Ware which featured Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, John Marshall and long-time friend Keith Tippett. This line-up would only remain together briefly. In 2002, Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music, an old friend of Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper, put together another former Soft Machine member, Allan Holdsworth, who joined the three members of Soft Ware, who would rename themselves Soft Works in June 2002. They had changed their name to avoid confusion with Peter Mergener's band Software. As Soft Works, they made their world live debut on 17 August 2002 at the Progman Cometh Festival (at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington), released in 2003 their only (studio) album, Abracadabra, consisting of all new material recorded at the Eastcote Studios in London on 5–7 June 2002, and toured Japan in August 2003, Italy in January–February 2004 and Mexico in March 2004.
Soft Machine Legacy (2004–2015)
In October 2004, upon the persistence of Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music, a new variant of Soft Works, with John Etheridge permanently replacing Holdsworth, took the name of Soft Machine Legacy and performed their first two gigs (two Festival shows on 9 October in Turkey & 15 October in Czech Republic), Liam Genockey temporarily replacing John Marshall who had ligament problems (the first Soft Machine Legacy line-up being consequently: Elton Dean, John Etheridge, Hugh Hopper and Liam Genockey). Later on, Soft Machine Legacy released three albums: Live in Zaandam (2005), the studio album Soft Machine Legacy (2006) recorded in September 2005 and featuring fresh material and the double CD and DVD Live at the New Morning (2006). After Elton Dean died in February 2006, the band continued with British saxophonist and flautist Theo Travis, formerly of Gong and The Tangent (temporarily replaced by saxophonist Paul Dunmall at the jazz festival in Udine in the Spring of 2006). In December 2006, the new Legacy line-up recorded the album Steam in Jon Hiseman's studio, in Surrey, UK. Steam was eventually released by Moonjune Records in August 2007, before a European tour in autumn. In 2008, Hopper was sidelined by leukemia and the band continued live performances with Fred Baker. Following Hopper's death in 2009, the band announced that they would continue with Babbington once again stepping into the role formerly held by Hopper. On 4 October 2010, Soft Machine Legacy released their fifth album, a 58-minute new live album entitled Live Adventures recorded live on 22 October 2009 in Austria and Germany during a European tour. On 18 March 2013, the Legacy band released a new studio album, titled Burden of Proof, recorded in Italy in the late Summer of 2012 in a small village of San Sebastiano da Pó, in North-Western Italy. In an early 2013 interview, Travis stated that, "legally we could actually be called Soft Machine but for various reasons it was decided to be one step removed." In May 2014, veteran sax player Art Themen subbed for Theo Travis at the short Brazilian tour. In February 2014, Soft Machine Legacy performed at the Cruise To The Edge, in the Caribbean. In March 2015, Gary Husband stepped in for drummer John Stanley Marshall performing with the Legacy for a short tour of Japan, along with guest artist and long-time friend Keith Tippett.
A return to the name "Soft Machine" (2015–present)
In September and October 2015, it was announced that the band Soft Machine Legacy (John Etheridge, John Marshall, Roy Babbington and Theo Travis) would be performing under the name Soft Machine. In December 2015, it was confirmed that the band had dropped the "Legacy" tag from their name, as the band featured three of the group's 1970s era members – John Etheridge, John Marshall and Roy Babbington (from the seminal 1976's album "Softs"). Due to John Marshall's health issue, several drummers subbed for the veteran British drum legend in recent years: Mark Fletcher, Asaf Sirkis, Nic France, Martin France, Gary Husband. New album "Hidden Details" will be released in July 2018 on MoonJune Records (North & South America (Dyad Records (UK, Europe) and Vivid (Japan).
released January 1, 2000
Abracadabra (2003) - CD (Dean, Holdsworth, Hopper, Marshall)
Soft Machine Legacy
Live in Zaandam (2005) - CD (Dean, Etheridge, Hopper, Marshall)
Soft Machine Legacy (2006) - CD (Dean, Etheridge, Hopper, Marshall)
Live at the New Morning (2006) - 2CD/DVD (Dean, Etheridge, Hopper, Marshall)
Steam (2007) - CD (Etheridge, Travis, Hopper, Marshall)
Live Adventures (2011) - CD (Etheridge, Travis, Babbington, Marshall)
Burden of Proof (2013) - CD (Etheridge, Travis, Babbington, Marshall)
Hidden Details (2018) - CD/LP (Etheridge, Travis, Babbington, Marshall)
supported by 325 fans who also own “MoonJune Years (Sampler)”
It's not only great jazz you get from MoonJune, of course. The stable is rich with talent from the forefront of progressive music.
This sampler gives two and a half hours of those riches to tempt you into investigating talent you may not have been aware of before.
Listen. Enjoy. Peter Jones