Another absorbing record from My Only Desire that both promotes the new and the vintage music that is such a vital force in UK jazz.

My Only Desire Records MOD007

Available on limited edition 7” vinyl & all digital platforms

Theo Travis (soprano saxophone, flute); John Etheridge (guitar); Fred Thelonious Baker (bass guitar); Asaf Sirkis (drums)

This is the second 7” single release from My Only Desire Records’s Brit Jazz 45s series, and who better to continue the labels mantra than the jazz-rock group Soft Machine who in an earlier incarnation were at the forefront of jazz in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s.

Guitarist John Etheridge’s tenure with Soft Machine goes back to the mid-’70s, with stays of various duration and has been the groups nominal leader since 2015. More recent Machinist Theo Travis who also joined the band on a permanent basis in 2015 has with Etheridge arranged one Harry Becket composition and one from Soft Machine’s back catalogue penned by Mike Ratledge.

Side A features ‘The Dew at Dawn’ which was originally released on trumpeter and composer Harry Beckett’s Memories Of Bacares album in 1975 with his Joy Unlimited group. The tempo is slightly quicker than Beckett’s original but retains the Carribean calypso groove in the wonderful bass line laid down by Fred Thelonious Baker. Theo Travis’s sweet toned soprano plays out the melody and the solo honours go to Etheridge in an outing that captures perfectly the sunny disposition of the piece.

The flip side brings to new life a composition from Soft Machine’s 1970 album Third, and the epic 18-minute version by Mike Ratledge has been cut down to just under five minutes. Distilling the music into such a short time span, the four musicians set up the mood and feel of the music and have their say in a way that takes nothing away from the grandeur of the original.

Opening with another strong bass line from Baker and gentle electronic swirl from the guitarist. Theo Travis, again on soprano plays the theme against and increasingly insistent accompaniment prior to calm being reestablished for his lyrical flute solo. Returning to soprano and the opening theme with some delicate variations as the band play the tune out in an unsettlingly intense manner as the music is faded out.

Another absorbing record from My Only Desire that both promotes the new and the vintage music that is such a vital force in UK jazz.