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Hopper Tunity Box

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Album Review

Ex-Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper augments his rather infamous fuzz-bass attack by performing on guitar, recorders, soprano sax, and percussion on this reissue of the original LP. Recorded in 1976 and re-released on CD by Culture Press in 1996 and Cuneiform in 2007, this outing features the bassist's fellow Soft Machine bandmate, saxophonist Elton Dean, along with others of note. Moreover, Hopper veers into jazz fusion territory amid his often memorably melodic compositions, also including an investigative spin on modern jazz great Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." Hopper and associates mince heavy-handed rhythms with subtle EFX treatments, a jazz waltz motif, dreamy choruses, and commanding jazz-based horn charts. Here Dean, keyboardist Dave Stewart, and saxophonist Gary Windo add a bit of luster to the session, thanks to emotionally charged soloing and wistful lines. The Culture Press CD audio characteristics tend to be a bit muddy (a minor flaw), but this shortcoming was remedied by the Cuneiform remastered version of the landmark Hopper Tunity Box in 2007. This production stands as one of Hopper's finest solo efforts — largely due to the inspiring ensemble work and the bassist's strong material. Recommended.


Born: April 29, 1945 in Canterbury, Kent, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Hugh Hopper was best known as the electric bassist for Soft Machine during the band's most creative and critically acclaimed period, but his musical career extended far beyond his time spent with that particular group. He arguably manifested the Canterbury scene's progressive spirit -- at least on the instrumental side of the equation -- longer than any other musician, from the late '60s through to nearly the end of the new millennium's first decade, a period spanning over 40 years, although he took...
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Hopper Tunity Box, Hugh Hopper
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