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John Surman: Coruscating

Glenn Astarita By

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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.

* * * (Out of * * * * *)

( ECM Records


Track Listing: 1) At Dusk 2) Dark Corners 3) Stone Flower 4) Moonless Midnight 5) Winding Passages 6) An Illusive Shadow 7) Crystal Walls 8) For The moment

Personnel: John Surman; soprano and baritone saxophones, bass and contrabass clarinets: Chris Laurence; double-bass: Rita Manning; violin: Keith Pascoe; violin: Bill Hawkes; viola: Nick Cooper; cello

Title: Coruscating | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: ECM Records


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