Third is a 1970 double LP by Soft Machine, with each side of the original vinyl consisting of a single long composition. Its music explores the emerging jazz fusion of the type present on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, which was released just a few months earlier. Third marks the most major of Soft Machine's several shifts in musical genre over their career, completing their transition from psychedelic music to jazz, and is a significant milestone of the Canterbury scene, featuring interplay between the band's personnel: Mike Ratledge on keyboards, Robert Wyatt on drums, Hugh Hopper on bass and newest member Elton Dean on saxophone. Lyn Dobson appears on saxophone and flute on "Facelift", recorded while he was a full member of the band (then a quintet), although he is credited as an additional performer.
Jimmy Hastings (brother of Pye Hastings from Caravan) makes substantial contributions on flute and clarinet on "Slightly All The Time", free-jazz violinist Rab Spall (then a bandmate of Wyatt's in the part-time ensemble Amazing Band) is heard on the coda to "Moon In June", and Nick Evans (a member of the band during its short-lived septet incarnation) makes brief appearances on trombone in "Slightly All The Time" and "Out-Bloody-Rageous". In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock (2005), the album came #20 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".