Hopper Picard Franklin Hayward — Numero d'vol
(Moonjune MJR014, 2007, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-10-01
Hugh Hopper hardly ever misses an opportunity for a group improvisation. Given his time spent with sax player Simon Picard doing Soft Machine tributes and keeping tabs on keyboardist Steve Franklin (ex-Phil Miller’s In Cahoots), it’s clear that as a forward thinking collaboration, something new was to be created with ex-Quiet Sun, This Heat drummer Charles Hayward. Across eleven revealing pieces (all group arranged) the quartet takes many melodic risks and come up with the good stuff on nearly every roll of the interplay dice. Picard’s legato opening to the title track serves as the proper groundwork for another Softs influenced (not derivative) project that has as much to do with atmospherics and mood as Canterbury-induced vibe. The rhythm section of Hopper and Hayward is a bit tentative across the tracks but most persuasive on pieces such as the franticly paced “On the Spot” and “Get That Tap,” where they get to strut their provable know how. The former piece is a showcase for Hopper’s diagonal slice soloing with Hayward prodding the song then letting the track go slack for Franklin’s looped piano segues to overlay. The latter tune reflects an atmospheric slant with Hayward adding little snippets of rhythmic backing for Picard to add slightly to. “Bees Knees Man” has the most in common with classic Soft Machine as well as Picard’s best playing on the disc. Overall this is a great new ensemble in need of gigs and serious promotion.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more