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John Surman at Seventy

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John Surman, Chris Laurence & Trans4mation Quartet Kings Place London Jazz Festival November 14, 2014 The first Friday of this year's London Jazz festival saw John Surman celebrating his seventieth birthday at Kings Place near King's Cross Station. The venue is about as far as it could get from anyone's idea of the smoky dives so readily associated with jazz. It's calm and relaxed, comfortable and, well, polite--in a good way--and most definitely smoke-free. Its contemporary wood-panelled walls and stage give the hall a rather Scandinavian feel, appropriate, perhaps, given Surman now makes his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

S.O.S./: Looking for the Next One

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Complete with an in-depth 16-page booklet--including photos and a storyboard of the core trio's existence, S.O.S features three protagonists of the '70s British progressive- jazz movement and beyond. The band formed in 1973 and lasted through 1976 with one self- titled album for the Ogun record label in 1975. Looking for the Next One, is a 2-CD set comprising of studio and live material that offers previously unreleased material that is grounded on the trio's innovative unification of electronics to supplement the sax trio concept. It's one of those unearthed treasures that hold its value several decades after the fact. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

John Surman: Manchester, England. June 18, 2012

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John SurmanRNCMManchester Jazz FestivalManchester, EnglandJune 18, 2012As the lights slowly dimmed, a small and rather unremarkable man made his way onto the stage, in front of a table strewn with saxophones and wind instruments. However, as the audience soon discovered, when this man begins to play something utterly remarkable and unique is channeled. The room was charged with a quiet but detectable energy as John Surman began one of his first solo appearances in the UK in a very long time, a definite highlight of this year's Manchester Jazz Festival.The first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: Saltash Bells

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There's no denying the “the sound of surprise" of group recordings; working solo, however, provides its own possibilities, despite meaning different things to different people. Pianist Keith Jarrett views it as a means for pulling form from the ether: one man, one piano, in real time. Multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus, on the other hand, considers it a blank slate where it's one man but a multitude of instruments layered one upon the other, through multi-tracking, over the course of days, months...even years. Reed player John Surman has been creating one-man orchestral works since Westering Home (Island, 1972), but it's been his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: The Rainbow Band Sessions

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It's been nearly two decades since British saxophonist/clarinetist John Surman last did a large ensemble disc, with the exception of Free and Equal (ECM, 2003), which teamed the duo of Surman and drummer/pianist Jack DeJohnette with the London Brass ensemble. But the last time Surman did a swinging session beyond a quartet was The Brass Project (ECM, 1993), and that was in collaboration with Canadian expat John Warren, another longtime Surman partner dating as far back as How Many Clouds Can You See? (Vocalion, 1969) and the entirely Warren-penned Tales of the Algonquin (Vocalion, 1971). All of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: Flashpoint: NDR Jazz Workshop - April '69

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In the necessarily modestly expansive booklet note which accompanies this CD and DVD set, Brian Morton sets out the development of jazz in Britain, from its point of origin in the early decades of the twentieth century. He also rightly identifies the musical generation that came of age in the 1960s as having no sense of cultural inferiority, a point which is made most potently on Flashpoint: NDR Jazz Workshop--April '69 in music that reveals a character every bit as identifiable as anything coming at the time. Such is the whim of fate that saxophonist John Surman had to go ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: Flashpoint: NDR Jazz Workshop - April '69

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Flashpoint: NDR Jazz Workshop--April '69 is a stunning discovery. Featuring unreleased material executed by a unique ten-piece line-up of European jazz luminaries, it provides a fascinating window into the development of British saxophonist John Surman at the very beginning of his career. Capturing an international all-star ensemble working through Surman's formative concepts, this informal studio session was taped in Hamburg, Germany for the NDR Jazz Workshop, a weekly television series. Despite being recorded in mono for televised broadcast, the audio and video quality is remarkably good considering the source material. Released by Cuneiform as a double disc set, the CD ...



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