Title - 'Volume 2 - Frangloband' (Gonzo Multimedia)
Artist - Hugh Hopper
For those not in the know, Hugh Hopper (who sadly died aged 64 of leukaemia in 2009), was an incredible British progressive rock and jazz fusion bass guitarist. He was a prominent member of the Canterbury scene, as a member of Soft Machine and various other related bands both before, during and after.
Starting in 1963 as bassist with The Daevid Allen Trio, alongside drummer Robert Wyatt, he alternated between free jazz and rhythm and blues. In 1964 with Brian Hopper (his brother), Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Richard Sinclair he formed The Wilde Flowers, a pop music group. Although they never released any records during their existence (a compilation was released 30 years later), The Wilde Flowers are acknowledged as the founders of the Canterbury scene and spawned its two most important groups, the aforementioned Soft Machine and then Caravan.
The subject of a 10-disc series featuring previously-unreleased live recordings, here on Volume 2 - Frangloband, Michael King (compiler, editor and mastering wizard) and executive producer, Rob Ayling have brought together a highly-sought after, and very rare live concert performance of Hopper's classic compositions. Recorded originally at the Le Triton, in Paris, France on March 13th, 2003, the seven song concert is as vibrant, as infectious, as warranted today as it was back then.
This wonderful live CD begins with 'Facelift,' before ebbing into both 'Lonely Sky and The Seas' and then 'Mr. Syms.' The latter the only non-Hopper composed track, I'm pretty sure John Coltrane would have approved. Along next is 'Sliding Dogs,' with 'Shuffle Demons,' 'Wanglo Saxon,' and then finally 'Miniluv' bringing the show to an extended close.
With new Liner Notes from Aymeric Leroy and Concert photos by Helene Collon, the entire band that night - Patrice Meyer (guitar); Pierre-Olivier Govin (baritone, alto saxophones); Francois Verly (drums, tablas); Hopper himself on bass guitar; and the special guest appearance of Didier Malherbe (bamboo flute, soprano saxophone) on the closing track - was in perfect harmony.
As with the also-reviewed, Volume 1 - Memories, this second volume of music is just one of those albums that makes you miss the genius behind the music quite like you never knew you missed them before.