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IN PICTURES
CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: Invisible Threads

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Half a century into his musical career, English reed player John Surman continues to find outlets to explore a wide variety of introspective compositions. Invisible Threads, out on ECM, finds Surman exploring folk and world music, accompanied by pianist Nelson Ayres and mallet percussionist Rob Waring. The album features Surman's woodwind melodies bouncing atop piano and vibraphone/marimba patterns so smoothly that it becomes almost impossible to tell what is improvised and what is not. Surman's trio is an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: Morning Glory

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This is the first John Surman-authorised reissue of his seminal album released on the Island Records label in 1973 (ILPS9237) that acted as a signal delineation between what preceded it (a relatively conventional approach with an emphasis on blistering baritone saxophone outings) and what was to follow (the far more pastoral ECM years, albeit with the occasional quartet and big band foray). Up to this point British jazz has been stoking-up a real furnace of excellent and often ground breaking ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Surman: Westering Home

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Originally released on Chris Blackwell's Island Records, John Surman's first solo album was a complete departure from his previous works. It presaged the canon of pastoral solo recordings he was to produce later for ECM in contrast to his more robust and conventionally orchestrated recordings. His second and final album for Island, Morning Glory, a year later, was a reversion to the dynamic manifestations to which Surman had been hitherto associated. In subsequent ECM and other recordings Surman ...

LIVE REVIEWS

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...