Soft Machine Live at Henie Onstad Centre 1971

By 1971, Soft Machine had morphed from a playful, psychedelic-leaning rock group into a jazz-fusion tour de force capable of seriously exciting improvisation. The original quartet of drummer Robert Wyatt, organist Michael Ratledge, bassist Hugh Hopper and saxophonist Elton Dean were still alive, yet Wyatt was on the verge of leaving the group. Third had just been released the year prior and Fourth was on its way. This exciting two-disc recording of Soft Machine's February 28th set at Oslo's Henie Onstad Art Centre showcases the group in prime form. Allowed the opportunity to play in a venue with excellent acoustics and decent amplification, the foursome demonstrate a white-hot synergy most rock bands spend their entire careers attempting. Breezing through two sets of rapid-fire, jazzy improv, Soft Machine sound at their peak. Kudos to Reel Recordings for the fantastic mastering job and bonus CD-R, with some amazing supplementary information. (Reel)