Hugh Hopper & Special Friends Le Mans 1991

Le Mans, Europa Jazz Festival 12 May 1991

This performance marks the debut of what was supposed to be a one-off ‘all-star’ Canterbury band, billed for this (and a follow-up tour later in 1991) as Hugh Hopper & Special Friends (it would, of course, subsequently be known as Short Wave).

The idea for this particular line-up came from Philippe Renaud, editor of Notes Magazine (and subsequently Improjazz) who also helped organising the Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans, France, and was a longtime fan of the scene. Of course, there were many prior associations – Didier Malherbe, Hugh Hopper and Pip Pyle had all been in the original Equip’Out (1984-85), Phil Miller, Hugh and Pip were all members of In Cahoots in 1985-87, not mention prior memberships of Gong, Hatfield and the North, Soft Heap etc.

Apart from Pip’s still embryonic « Saiseyes », the repertoire was drawn from the participants’ various projects, ranging from 1970s classics (« Miniluv » and « Nan True’s Hole ») to more recent compositions like « 2PM », inspired by Hugh’s favourite guitarists Patrice Meyer and Phil Miller, but until then only played by the former. « Wanglo Saxon » had been played by both In Cahoots and Hugh’s FrangloDutch Band, and « Midnight Judo » had first been heard on the first Equip’Out album. Unique to this performance are two compositions not played on subsequent tours – Phil’s « No Holds Barred », from his 1991 solo album « Digging In », in its only rendition featuring Hugh or Didier, and Didier’s own « Humble Bebop », first heard on Equip’Out’s 1984 tour and recorded (with Pip on drums) on Didier’s 1989 album « Fetish ».

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One thought

  1. I haven’t seen this interview for ages! It’s wonderful to see Dad being interviewed & be able to share it online. Thank you for sharing. Steph x

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