September 08, 2019

Alan Gowen & Hugh Hopper With Nigel Morris ‎– Bracknell - Bresse Improvisations (1996, CD, England)

Bass, Tape Loops – Hugh Hopper
Keyboards – Alan Gowen
Percussion – Nigel Morris

Tracks 1-3 recorded live 21 Sept 1980 at South Hill, Bracknell, U.K.
Tracks 4-8 recorded May 1978 at Bresse-sur-Grosne, France.

This CD consists of unplanned, unrehearsed improvisations (one 14 minutes long, another 18 minutes, plus several shorter) between bassist Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine), keyboardist Alan Gowen (Gilgamesh) and drummer Nigel Morris (Isotope). As one would expect in this circumstance, the results are pretty loose and formless but fascinating nonetheless to see how these three masters of their instruments play off each other. Each brings a long history and identifiable style, which comes out in their unguarded ad libbing. The shorter titles are excerpted from much longer jams, faded in for the good bits and then out again when they've run their inevitable course.

This style of freeform collaboration (circa 1978-1981) was to become a much bigger part of Hopper's life a few years later, as he began trading tapes with a number of musicians and sitting in with existing ensembles. Sadly, Gowen did not have the same opportunity, as he passed away rather suddenly in 1981 from leukaemia. (R. Carlberg)