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Obit: Bass guitarist Hugh Hopper (June 2009)

Jack Blandiver 13 Jun 09 - 05:50 PM
Matthew Edwards 13 Jun 09 - 06:26 PM
Jack Blandiver 14 Jun 09 - 04:48 AM
Abdul The Bul Bul 14 Jun 09 - 01:25 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jun 09 - 10:37 AM
Geoff Wallis 15 Jun 09 - 01:17 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jun 09 - 05:40 PM
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Subject: Obit: Hugh Hopper
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 05:50 PM

RIP Hugh Hopper; quintessential English bassist, song-writer & musical innovator who passed last Sunday, 7th June.

From Jazzwise:

Bass guitarist Hugh Hopper has died at the age of 64, it was announced yesterday. The Kent-born musician is best known as the bass player in Soft Machine which he joined in 1968. He remained with them until 1972 but later became an important part of Soft Machine Legacy which has toured the world in recent years.

Before Soft Machine Hopper worked with Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt in the Daevid Allen Trio before forming the Wilde Flowers joined by his brother Brian, Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Richard Sinclair. But it was with Wyatt, Allen, Ayers and also Mike Ratledge that he was to make his mark on the history of progressive rock and forward-looking jazz-influenced psychedelic groups of the period and since with his innovative fuzz-bass sound.

After Soft Machine, Hopper worked with a range of groups including the influential Gilgamesh and Isotope and began an association with free jazz saxophonist Elton Dean who joined Soft Machine in 1969. Later important collaborations also included work with the late Pip Pyle, Phil Miller's In Cahoots and since 2002 with Soft Works which later became Soft Machine Legacy. Hopper had been suffering from leukaemia in recent years. A benefit was held for him at the 100 Club in London last December. A full obituary will follow in the July print edition of Jazzwise. He will be sadly missed.


On YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yo5F28gSag


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hugh Hopper
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 06:26 PM

Thanks for the reminder Sean. Soft Machine were one of the most interesting groups of the late 60's whose music was always worth listening to.
The Guardian has a very good obituary by Adam Sweeting: - Hugh Hopper.
Also there are tributes in The Times and The Independent.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hugh Hopper
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 04:48 AM

Thanks for those links, Matthew. Much appreciated. After a week away in the wilds of Darkest Devon this one passed me by rather!

Anyway - one more from YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8yR_PozwVo

This is a quite stunning live rendering of Elton Dean's Seven for Lee performed by the now entirely deceased Soft Heap quartet on November 22nd, 1978:

Bass - Hugh Hopper (1945-2009)
Saxello - Elton Dean (1945-Feb 2006)
Drums - Pip Pyle (1950-August 2006)
Keyboards - Alan Gowan (1947-1981)

This now is the music of angels.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hugh Hopper
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 01:25 PM

Apart from the music, he was nice bloke too. He was our next door but one neighbour.

Al


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bass guitarist Hugh Hopper (June 2009)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:37 AM

Another thread name changed - for the sake of clarity no doubt! One would have thought even in folkish circles the name Hugh Hopper would be synonymous with his craft & mastery with needing the vocational prefix.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bass guitarist Hugh Hopper (June 2009)
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 01:17 PM

Sad news indeed.

Living in Kent in the early 1970s I saw Hugh play live on a number of occasions, sometimes in pick-up bands but more often with The Softs. Softs 3 remains one of my all-time favourite albums and I'll play it tonight with an accompanying glass of a fine Rioja in Hugh's memory.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bass guitarist Hugh Hopper (June 2009)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 05:40 PM

I've been going through them steadily; from the masterful Box 25/4 Lid where MR & HH unwittingly lay down the template of the shape of things to come. The story goes that HH was on the verge of selling his bass to buy a motorbike when MR & RW contacted him with about the recording of Volume Two, which is my own personal favourite, although today I opted for the Paradiso March 1969 concert which essays much of Volume Two in extended power-trio intensity. This evening I went for Kings and Queens and Virtually from Fourth; tomorrow I'll be listening to the live versons!

A YouTube favourite meanwhile:

Soft Machine : Moon In June, Bilzen Festival - August 22, 1969.


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