Soft Machine’s Hugh Hopper R.I.P.



Famed bassist
(1945-2009) was a member of Soft Machine and a mainstay of the Canterbury scene.


By Fred Mills


The progressive rock world – hell, the entire music world –
lost a giant on Sunday, June 7, when Hugh Hopper, bassist for the mighty Soft
Machine, passed away at the age of 64. According to a report filed by Jazzwise magazine, Hopper had been
suffering from leukemia, although full details of his death remain sketchy at
the moment. (Last December there was a Hugh Hopper benefit concert in London to help raise
funds for Hopper’s chemotherapy treatments.)


As part of Britain’s
vaunted Canterbury
scene, Hopper had been a member of both the Daevid Allen trio and the Wilde
Flowers. Later, after members of the latter group formed the Soft Machine,
Hopper worked as the road manager then assumed bass duties around the time of
the second album, 1969’s Volume Two. (During
this period he also appeared along with other members of the band on Syd
Barrett’s solo album The Madcap Laughs.)
He remained with the Soft Machine until around 1972-73, after which time he
worked with scores of progressive rock and jazz groups and musicians, including
Isotope, Gilgamesh, the Carla Bley Band, Stomu Yamashta, Elton Dean, Keith
Tippet, Pip Pyle, Soft Heap and Cahoots.


Most recently he’d teamed with several former Soft Machine
members as Soft Machine Legacy, recording and performing both vintage and new






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