Volume Two

Soft Machine


JAZZWISE - N° 113 - October 2007

The Story So Far... - Steve Miller / Lol Coxhill

Daniel Spicer


These two albums, re-released now on a double CD, capture beaulifully a particular moment in British underground music when jazz-rock more specifically, the Canterbury scene - enjoyed a mutually beneficial flirtation with hard-line improv. Miller's best known as keyboardist with Canterbury originals, Caravan, and it's fascinating to hear some of that band's best known tunes deconstructed here as solo piano pieces or as intimate, playful duets with "the bald soprano." Coxhill, although by this time a formidable presence on the improv scene, wasn't averse to fitting into exploratory rock bands such as Kevin Ayers and the Whole World - and there are plenty examples of that to be relished here too, including some gritty, previously unreleased, live tracks from Delivery (essentially a proto-Hatfield and the North), and a gorgeously good-natured cha-cha-cha jammed up by Coxhill and Ayers with Robert Wyatt dropping in to supply unmistakably hairbrained Dada-scat vocals. Just when you thought you'd heard everything the Canterbury scene had to offer, a little gem like this pops up and brightens your day.