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Soft Machine — Grides
(Cuneiform Rune 230/231, 1971/2006, CD+DVD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2007-03-01

Grides Cover art

The translation of Grides means “To cut with a grating sound; to penetrate or pierce harshly.” That’s exactly what this classic fusion quartet was doing on the live stage at the time with their unique aural assault. The jazz world was up in arms with the overt overtones of rock meshing abruptly with jazz purists but Europeans held a different, open point of view. Two sets are included in the release; the first is from the fall 1970 Concertgebouw Amsterdam a strong band presentation. Aymeric Leroy’s annotations leave no doubt that the quartet was at the top of their game playing live and previewing two new pieces prior to recording sessions for Fourth. Ratledge and Dean tear it up on familiar material and especially on Hopper’s “Virtually” from the upcoming album. The live DVD from five months later shows a different side of the band. Dean and Ratledge lead the free foray on Dean’s piece “Neo Caliban Grides” before Hopper and Wyatt join, adding a rhythmic melee which is essential footage. “Out Bloody Rageous” is all any fan could hope for, seeing one of the finest ensembles on the planet. Video footage of Wyatt’s top notch playing in the same shot as Ratledge’s flying fingers on his trusted Lowrey organ make this an essential viewing. In summary this is rare film of the cherished line-up and it’s must see for all jazz fans.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt

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