Soft Machine

Tuesday, 20 February 2024

19:30 - 23:00
The Robin, Bilston, WV14 7LJ

One of the greatest UK avant/jazz-rock bands

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Soft Machine is one of the greatest UK avant/jazz-rock bands of all time. Their work, from their earliest performances as a psychedelic band, who were contemporaries of, and shared stages with Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, all the way to being one of Europe’s best known ‘fusion’ bands has influenced several generations of bands, and continues to be name-checked by today’s hip experimentalists.

This band is rooted in the celebrated 70’s version of the legendary group which recorded the acclaimed ‘Softs’ album in 1975, completed by outstanding sax star Theo Travis (Robert Fripp/David Gilmour/Steven Wilson). Since 2021 Roy Babbington retired from public performance and his chosen successor on the bass is Fred Thelonious Baker who has been a musician on the Canterbury scene for over 30 years – being a regular collaborator with the late Elton Dean, with Hugh Hopper and with guitarist Phil Miller (In Cahoots/Hatfield and the North). Due to ill health John Marshall will not be touring with the band in 2023 but will be replaced by Asaf Sirkis. The band plays material from the era (compositions by Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge, Karl Jenkins) as well as many works by members of the band, as featured on their latest studio album ‘Other Doors’, and  their recent acclaimed live album Los Angeles ‘Live at the Baked Potato’.

Whilst the line-up of Soft Machine may have changed many times since the heady days of the late 1960’s, the band’s spirit of musical adventure, and the ease with which it freely avoids being pigeonholed and can move from powerful progressive jazz fusion to atmospheric psychedelia to free improvised jazz-rock to ambient loop music continues to make it both unique and totally contemporary.

Just as the original Soft Machine was in a state of continual metamorphosis in terms of both personnel and musical approach – shape-shifting over time from a psychedelic pop band, to a proto–prog rock outfit, to pioneers of adventurous jazz-rock fusion, and ranging from trio to septet configurations – Soft Machine and formerly Soft Machine Legacy has been in constant flux as members have come and gone, each new arrival placing his distinctive stamp on this musical work in progress. It is a tribute to the open-ended nature of Soft Machine’s ingenious compositional frameworks that they can accommodate such a wide range of strong musical personalities.

This is Soft Machine – a living, breathing music that is as vital and relevant today as it ever was. Both long-time fans and new converts alike can take heart in the knowledge that the Soft Machine family tree — with its deep roots in the musical revolution of the '60s – continues to sprout healthy new limbs well into the new century, showing no signs of slowing. The legacy is in very good hands indeed.


The Robin
20-28 Mount Pleasant
WV14 7LJ

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The event runs from 19:30 to 23:00 on the following dates.
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