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John Marshall RIP

Drummer John Marshall, a founding member of Nucleus and long-time member of Soft Machine, died on 16 September at the age of 82. His playing seamlessly brought together elements of jazz, rock, and funk to be one of the distinctive instrumentalists of British jazz-rock. His work featured on albums by a wide range of artists, including Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, Ralph McTell, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Volker Kriegel, Charlie Mariano, Eberhard Weber, and scores of others. He joined Soft Machine in 1972 and became the group's longest-serving member, staying with them until his retirement after their 2019 tour, though he appeared on Other Doors, released in 2023.

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-09-17

Members of Soft Machine at dinner. L-R: Roy Babbington, John Marshall, Theo Travis, John Etheriedge. Photo by Jon DavisOn a personal note, I had the pleasure of driving Soft Machine's van during the West Coast leg of their 2019 tour, spending hours in the vehicle with them and seeing six performances from both backstage and the audience. John Marshall was a relatively quiet presence, but proved himself to be a kind and intelligent man, with many amusing recollections from the band's earlier eras.

John Marshall leaves behind a legacy of more than 200 recordings spanning more than 50 years, and while his name is not often mentioned in the roster of the greatest drummers, his contributions are undeniable.

Filed under: Obituaries

Related artist(s): Soft Machine, Soft Machine Legacy / Soft Works, Theo Travis, Jack Bruce, John Etheridge, Eberhard Weber, Charlie Mariano, John Marshall

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