Mr Jukes Presents Soft Machine’s Third, Rich Mix - EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

It takes a map to dignify a masterful album.

The capacity to navigate revolutionary sounds with courage and carry their spiritual loudness without self-indulgence.

In an energising rendition of Soft Machine’s Third, Jack Steadman a.k.a. Mr Jukes gave new life to this 1970 LP, with grace and unabashed amounts of appetite for a kind of jazz-infused rock that gives every genre permission to go interplanetary.

If Steadman was the map, Rich Mix turned into a space dripping with intention. The sound poured like the inside of a lava lamp, with the same viscosity and vibrancy, accompanied by patterned backgrounds that further confirmed the psychedelic undertones of 1970s rock. Soft Machine’s Third was celebrated in Sarah Tandy’s climatic keyboard, Dan Berry and Binker Golding’s timely saxophones, Max Hallett’s reverberating drums and Steadman’s nuclear bass, which gently but potently led his band and the audience through a confirmational experience.

It never felt anonymous. Steadman was in his purest form, is equal parts delighted, moved and intoxicated. His body predicted and reacted to every powerful moment of each composition, delivering attention to each layer and each curated twist, in a sense of purposeful inflammation. In 'Out-Bloody-Rageous', Steadman and Tandy were in full synergy – confirming and amplifying each other’s movements. Golding’s saxophone was the caramel of the performance, filling the stage and the sound with a moreish execution, whilst Moon in June became Hallett’s poem to 1970s rock as the drums delivered the intensity needed for the room to feel fully fluorescence.

Before the music even began, Steadman held the LP with such a sense of selfhood and gratitude. In his chrysalis mode, it was as if he then become Mr Jukes – ready to pay meaningful tribute to this music, his teenage years and the understated beauty of honouring the sounds that make us.

Renata de Sousa Brites

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