February 11, 2008
John Surman & Trans4mation
A new chapter opens in the work of one of Europe's most consistently adventurous musicians. "Coruscating" features finely crafted and richly-melodic music for strings by John Surman, with the composer and his long-time associate Chris Laurence deployed as primary soloists and improvisers. The music heard on "Coruscating" was, in live performance, one of the big successes of ECM's 30th Anniversary Festival in Brighton and was also hailed as one of the highlights of the Bath Festival. Reviewing the material, The Times of London compared its sonorities to the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. Jazz, though, remains a crucial component of the material. Tracks such as "Stone Flower" reveal Surman's love of Duke Ellington. The piece is dedicated to the memory of Ellington's great baritone saxophone, Harry Carney, one of Surman's primary influences and a player to whom John has often been compared by the press.
The Spaces In Between
This is a total joy. If you thought Surman’s previous album Coruscating with this same line-up was good, this is even better. … The sound of the instruments and the way they combine is truly amazing. The throaty, guttural baritone finds an echo in the bass and cello and the soprano in the higher tones of the violins. The harmonies are fabulous, deep and rich, and evoke, for me at least, the English countryside through the seasons. As for the performances, they are quite perfect with Rita Manning’s solo violin on the title track an absolute highlight. This is simply the best record I’ve heard this year.
Duncan Heining, Jazzwise
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