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Hugh Hopper 1945 – 2009

June 8, 2009

Hugh Colin Hopper (born 29 April 1945, Whitstable, Kent, England, grown up in Canterbury; died 7 June 2009) was a progressive rock / (fusion) jazz bass guitarist and composer. He has been a prominent member of the Canterbury scene.

Hopper’s role with Soft Machine was initially as the group’s road manager, but he already composed for their first album The Soft Machine and played bass on one of its tracks. In 1969 he was recruited to be the group’s bassist for their second album, Volume Two and, with Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt, he took part in a recording session for a solo album of Syd Barrett’s (formerly of Pink Floyd, with whom the early Soft Machine had regularly gigged [2]). Hopper continued with the Softs, playing bass and contributing numerous compositions, until 1973. During his tenure the group evolved from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz-rock fusion band. In 1972, shortly before leaving Soft Machine, he recorded the first record under his own name, 1984 (named after George Orwell’s novel). This was a decidedly non-commercial record featuring lengthy solo pieces using tape loops as well as shorter pieces with a group.

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