According to MOJO, Soft Machine frontman Kevin Ayers has died at the age of 68.
The English-born singer-songwriter was one of many pioneers from The Canterbury Scene, alongside fellow progressive rockers Robert Wyatt, Dave Stewart, Steve Hillage, and Peter Blegvad. In 1963, he joined forces with Wyatt and Hugh Hopper to form The Wilde Flowers, and in 1966 he and Wyatt formed jazz-fusion band Soft Machine.
It was with Soft Machine where Ayers found himself collaborating with future Police guitarist Andy Summer, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, and Bob Dylan producers Chas Chandler and Tom Wilson. The band shared the same management team as Jimi Hendrix, and in 1968, they were invited to open for the celebrated rocker on his North American tour.
Ayers would later embark on a successful solo career, releasing over 15 albums and collaborating with Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield, and Lady June. His final record, 2007’s The Unfairground, featured contributions from Hopper, Bridget St John, and Phil Manzanera, as well as members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Teenage Fanclub, Ladybig Transistor, and more.
Below, you can watch footage of Soft Machine performing in 1967 and an interview with the musician from 2008.