Lee Ving, vocalist for the L.A. punk band Fear, once sang “New York’s alright if you like saxophones”. Images of Charlie Parker, Lester Young and John Coltrane (to name a few) come to mind. The sax in popular music is an instrument that comes and goes. These days it is mostly long gone. But there was a time when saxes, flutes and brass instruments helped create its own genre; “jazz-rock”.
Chris Wood helped give Traffic a unique sound with his reed and flute work. Blodwyn Pig and Colosseum were blues based jazz-rock bands but jazz also melded nicely with progressive or “art-rock”. ‘Third’ by Soft Machine is probably the prime example of this. With sounds ranging from psychedelic freak-out to droning space-rock ‘Third’ is an interesting blend of rhythm, keyboards and jazz instruments that works without emphasizing the guitar or vocals. Four songs total, each one originally covering a complete side of a double vinyl album, ‘Third’ stretches out for over 75 minutes and eases you into an enjoyable listening experience.