Mike RatledgeMike (* 1943 in Maidstone, Kent) was educated in classical music, the only kind of music played in his parents' home. He learned to play the piano, and with his friend Brian Hopper, whom he had met at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury, played classical piano and clarinet pieces.
Mike also met Brian's younger brother Hugh, and Robert Wyatt. In 1961, he met Daevid Allen, who interested them in playing jazz. Through Cecil Taylor's piano pieces Mike became familiar with the music of Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In 1963, he played in the Daevid Allen Trio. Unlike his friends, Mike wanted to further his education, and studied at University College, Oxford, where he earned a degree in psychology and philosophy. At the same time, he attended music lessons, and was educated by avant-garde musicians Mal Dean and Rab Spall.
In 1966, his friends were forming a new band, Soft Machine, and asked Mike to join. Soft Machine included Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, and Kevin Ayers. There were many personnel changes, and by 1973, Mike was the only remaining founding member.
In November 1973, Mike participated in a live performance of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells for the BBC. In 1976, Mike decided to leave Soft Machine to build a solo career, leaving the band under Karl Jenkins' management. Mike built himself a studio and composed a score for the film Riddles of the Sphinx.
As Soft Machine's longest-lasting member, he was a part of the band's changes in musical direction from psychedelic music to jazz-rock. In the 1980s, Mike was active as a composer and musical producer for commercials and the theatre. In 1995, Adiemus (Mike, Karl Jenkins and Miriam Stockley) released Songs of Sanctuary, which Mike co-produced with Karl Jenkins and for which he programmed the electronic percussion.
recorded live January 1970 at Fairfield Hall, Croydon and at Mothers Club, Birmingham/Great Britain
Lyn Dobson, soprano sax, flute
Elton Dean, alto sax, saxello
Nick Evans, trombone
Jimmy Hastings, flute, clarinet, bass
Mike Ratledge, Lowrey organ, piano
Rab Spall, violin
Hugh Hopper, bass
Robert Wyatt, drums, vocal
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