Pip Pyle's Equip' Out

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Like several other veterans of the 1970s Canterbury progressive music scene, drummer Pip Pyle (formerly in Hatfield and the North and National Health) went further into jazz as time went on. On this live 1994 recording, his quartet, Pip Pyle's Equipe Out, also includes Elton Dean (alto sax, saxello), Patrice Meyer (guitar), and Paul Rogers (bass). Dean, of course, reinforces the Canterbury connection as a Soft Machine alumni, and like numerous other post-'70s projects by those in the Soft Machine/Canterbury orbit, this is a sort of fusion of free jazz and actual jazz fusion. It's more inclined toward the free jazz component than the average such project, however, and that's good. For there's uncompromising free jazz energy in these five lengthy pieces, though Meyer's electric guitar adds an element that wasn't often heard in early free jazz, and there's a hint of the Soft Machine/Canterbury humor in the consecutive song titles "Ifi Riff," "Rumblestiltskin," and "Rumble Skin Stilt." The passages on which Dean's wailing takes the spotlight are the standouts, though Pyle's active, ever-shifting rolling patterns mark him as a strong force as well. The fidelity is fine, despite an insinuation in Pyle's brief sleeve note that the recording quality isn't all it could have been.

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