01 agosto 2016

Richard Williams di The Blue Moment ancora ricorda il concerto dei Soft Machine alla Fairfield Hall di Croydon (Regno Unito) il 4 gennaio 1970: la formazione era quella del quintetto, con Elton Dean, Lyn Dobson, Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge e Robert Wyatt, appena poche settimane prima dell'abbandono di Dobson. Williams arrivò tardi quella sera, quasi alla fine del primo set e appena in tempo per sentire Hibou, Anemone and Bear, ma qualche anno dopo riuscì a ricostruire quanto perduto grazie a un cd dell'impareggiabile Cuneiform Records (Noisette, uscito nel 2000 con l'intero concerto tranne Facelift, brano utilizzato in parte su Third). Ne scrive in questi giorni al suo blog: "I can now admit that in the section of the evening I missed was one of the concert’s highlights: Lyn’s flute solo on Ratledge’s ballad, “Backwards”. Introduced by the composer’s wah-wah’d electric piano, he produces a beautifully constructed improvisation that achieves an excellent blend of Eric Dolphy’s pure-toned inventiveness and Roland Kirk’s funky distortion, the latter feature coming to the fore as the piece goes into a wild Mingus-like 9/8 vamp. (Mingus, along with the Coltrane quartet of “My Favourite Things” and Uncle Meat-era Zappa, seemed to be the Softs’ most powerful influences at the time.) His tenor solos, like the one on Hopper’s “12/8 Theme”, manage to retain their clarity and logic in the heat of a furnace stoked by the non-stop focused clatter of Wyatt’s impassioned drumming."