If you need a break from the campaign 2016 madness, we recommend some time with the groundbreaking progressive jazz-rock combo known as the Soft Machine.
On January 10, 1971, BBC One played a segment on the program Anatomy of Pop showcasing the leaders of the experimental Canterbury scene. It’s an 8-minute clip in black & white featuring both interviews and live footage, although not any one song is played to completion (they did tend to go long, you know). These were the Wyatt/Ratledge/Dean/Hopper years of Third and Fourth—Third had come out the previous June, and Fourth was just a month away from release.
All four members are interviewed, but it’s Robert Wyatt who does most of the talking—he amusingly says that it was “quite hard work” learning to get into Charlie Parker. However, that needn’t suggest a negative assessment, on at least two of his albums (Radio Experiment Rome, February 1981 and Flotsam Jetsam) Wyatt played Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce.”
In between the epic solos, make sure you get out to VOTE if doing so early is an option in your precinct.
From the same era, here’s Soft Machine on the German TV program ‘Beat-Club’ in March 1971:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Mind-blowing early Soft Machine footage, 1968
Ester’s Nose Job: Dazzling live Soft Machine concert in Paris, 1970