Soft Machine, Its Been a Long Time Coming

Soft Machine

Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts
Date: Saturday February 2nd, 2019

Soft Machine was one of those groups that has not performed in the US in a very long time.  Their last North American Tour was in 1974 and the last time they came to Phoenix area was in 1968 when they toured with Jimi Hendrix.  Over the years members have come and gone from the group and have included Andy Summers (The Police), Percy Jones, Jack Bruce and Mike Ratledge.  Soft Machine pioneered Psychedelic and Progressive Rock, led the ‘Canterbury’ trend, pioneered jazz-rock, and then guitar-led fusion and influenced generations of musicians.

Soft Machine

The current band featured three of the group’s 1970s era members – guitarist John Etheridge, drummer John Marshall and bassist Roy Babbington (from the seminal 1976’s album “Softs”).  They are joined by Theo Travis on flute, sax, keyboards and clarinet.

They started their set with “Hidden Details” and continued with “The Man Who Waved at Trains” and “Life on Bridges”.  They were in great form laying down soft jazz riffs and smooth rhythms.  They ended the show by playing “Fourteen Hour Dream”, a masterpiece of classic progressive rock infused with jazz.  The audience might have been small, but it was extremely energetic applauding and giving multiple standing ovations.

The performance was at Scottsdale’s Center For The Performing Arts and was a perfect location for this show.  The acoustics were outstanding and you could clearly hear all of the band members.  If you get a chance to see a performance at this marvelous venue then please do.  You will be amazed.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Soft Machine Setlist:
Hidden Details
The Man Who Waved at Trains
Life on Bridges
Kings and Queens
Drum Solo
Hazard Profile
Burden of Proof                                (Soft Machine Legacy cover)
Fourteen Hour Dream

Levin Brothers

Tony Levin, bass player for Levin Brothers
Pete Levin, keyboardist for Levin Brothers

First up were the Levin Brothers featuring Tony and Pete Levin.  It was the first time I have seen a style of bass that Tony played.  It was a combination of upright bass and electric bass.  Pete played keyboards.  They were joined by Jeff Siegel on drums.

The Levin brother have been either playing together or members of other distinguish band for over 40 years.  Tony has played with such great artists as Peter Gabriel and King Crimson.  Pete has worked with such greats as Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and David Sanborn.  Together they have formed a powerhouse jazz fusion band.

For tonight’s show they played a number of Pete’s songs and covers from a couple of bands Tony was in.  They started with “Out Of Darkness” and then moved into a jazz version of the Paul Simon class “Scarborough Fair”.  They even did a song written by Jeff Siegel, “Ballad of the Innocent “.  They ended the night with two covers that Tony had done with King Crimson, “Bolero” and “Sleepless”.

If you love jazz, then the Levin Brothers is definitely a show to see.  They provide a mixture of jazz infused with blues and rock.  They don’t sing or dance, but let the music and their mastery of it enthrall the audience.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Levin Brothers Setlist:
Out Of Darkness
Scarborough Fair                            (Paul Simon cover)
Up From the Skies                          (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Fade to Blue                                   (Pete Levin song)
Kakilambe                                      (Pete Levin song)
Ballad of the Innocent
Gimme Some Scratch
Bolero                                            (King Crimson cover)
Sleepless                                        (King Crimson cov


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