Few would debate multi-reedman John Surman's significance to the Euro-jazz scene or perhaps modern jazz in general. And with his latest offering titled Coruscating, the distinguished artiste performs alongside longtime musical associate, bassist Chris Lawrence to compliment a string quartet specifically assembled for this occasion.
With this release, the band imaginatively parallels the perception of light, polarity and radiance with contrasting elements spoken through the musician's lucid yet at times, subdued dramatizations. Here, Surman renders spectral themes via his distinctive phrasing, soulful lines and fragmented choruses, along with a string section who primarily accompany the leader with bowed extended notes and sublime arrangements.
On "An Illusive Shadow," Surman engages a bit of musical hide and seek with the ensemble via ethereal musings and altogether enthusiastic conveyance of fanciful melodies and airy motifs. However, on some of these works, Surman's musical support merely provides the obliging underpinnings sans a whole lot of deviations from the grand scheme of things, especially when viewed upon as a whole. Otherwise, Coruscating should satisfy more than just a few of this esteemed stylist's ardent admirers.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.