Title - 'Abracadabra In Osaka'
Artist - Soft Works
For those not in the know, back in 2000, "Mr. MoonJune" Leonardo Pavkovic had this crazy idea to help his old friend Elton Dean, to kinda/sorta reform the legendary Soft Machine based, in large part, on information he had found on the internet about a "one-off" show of the Soft Ware project (featuring Elton on sax, Keith Tippett on piano, Hugh Hopper on bass guitar and John Marshall on drums).
So he reconnected with Elton on New Year's Day, 2000, and in June of that year they performed in New York City at a jazz festival with drummer Joe Gallivan, bassist Marcio Mattos and saxophonist Evan Parker.
Wishing to take it further, Elton asked Leo to talk to Keith Tippett, John Marshall, and Hugh Hopper, who he already knew from his visits to New York. They were all available and excited, except for Keith, who said he would consider it as a possible, occasional special project but not as a steady gig.
Keith's failure to make a solid commitment got them fantasizing about the fourth member. Mike Ratledge, the legendary Soft Machine keyboardist and one of Leo's all-time personal music heroes, had made it clear that he wasn't interested in being a part of any recording or live performance music since leaving Soft Machine in 1976 so the search went on. (Spoiler: They happily, albeit eventually, landed on the mighty Allan Holdsworth, one of the all-time greatest heroes of Leo's, as it turned out!).
Perhaps if there were a "progressive mantra," it might be embodied by Leo's drive and determination to always keep moving forward and looking ahead, and nothing could embody that more in this day and age than their brand new double album, Abracadabra In Osaka.
1. 'Seven Formerly' (12:58)
2. 'Alphrazallan' (10:11)
3. 'Elsewhere' (7:12)
4. 'Baker's Treat' (8:46)
5. 'Calyx' (6:22)
6. 'Kings & Queens' (8:14)
7. 'Abracadabra' (11:28)
8. 'Madam Vintage Suite' (7:59)
9. 'Has Riff' (9:360
10. 'First Trane' (9:19)
11. 'Facelift' (13:22)
Opening with the softly orchestrated, lo-fi saxophone brilliance of 'Seven Formerly,' that's backed by the straight ahead jazz flow of 'Alphrazallan,' and then comes the reflectively ornate 'Elsewhere,' the mellow 'Baker's Treat' (complete with gorgeous sax solo), with the first disc rounding out on the improv jazz styling of 'Calyx' (featuring Hopper's trademark fuzzy bass), and then the transcendent 'Kings & Queens.'
The second disc opens with a track that is, to me, highly reminiscent of European chamber jazz, the drum-led 'Abracadabra,' of which is backed by (one can only assume without having actually been in the studio), a Holdsworth improv piece, 'Madam Vintage Suite,' which is in turn followed by the free flowing majesty of 'Has Riff,' closing on the powerful arrangement of 'First Trane,' and then the delightful jazz embroidering of the delightful 'Facelift.'
"My magical encounters with Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and Ken Kubernik led to meeting John Marshall and then, ultimately Allan Holdsworth," Leonardo Pavkovic reminisces.
"Although sadly short lived, the creation of this progressive supergroup fundamentally changed my entire existence. Despite the lone studio album and only a small handful of live performances, the progressive genre is graced by our foresight to have recorded several of these shows."
"Abracadabra In Osaka represents the best of these recordings: serving as a living testimony of true musical icons -- the group which unknowingly became the seed which would sprout, grow and blossom into MoonJune Records and MoonJune Music."
"Thank you, Elton, Hugh, John and Allan and Ken (for) with your help, I have achieved an incredible dream in my own life! I am truly blessed to love what I'm doing, and to be doing what I love."
ELTON DEAN saxello, alto sax, Fender Rhodes
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH guitar
HUGH HOPPER bass guitar
JOHN MARSHALL drums
Official Purchase Link