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Stranger Than Fiction
John Surman
Stranger Than Fiction
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: John Surman
Title: Stranger Than Fiction
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ecm Import
Release Date: 7/15/1999
Album Type: Limited Edition, Original recording reissued, Import
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 731452185020

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CD Reviews

Delicate English jazz
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 03/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a characteristically beautiful recording from the British saxophonist & clarinetist John Surman: those who dislike the famed "ECM sound" should probably give this disc a wide berth, as it's squarely within that style, but it'll not disappoint those sympathetic to it. One would hardly suppose Surman to be the same fiery saxophonist from the days of John McLaughlin's _Extrapolation_ & _Where Fortune Smiles_: Surman's music has instead developed through an increasing interest in folk musics & the English tradition of church choral music (an interest that inevitably is emphasized by the trademark ECM church-echo). There's as much Gerald Finzi as John Coltrane in his discs nowadays.The band here is all-British: John Taylor on piano; Chris Laurence on bass; & John Marshall on drums. It's a fine rhythm section, though I hesitate a bit over Taylor, who is accomplished but rather too much the watercolourist. He's certainly no match for the much more substantial Paul Bley, with whom Surman has frequently recorded (check out _In the Evenings Out There_ in particular). On the other hand, when required the bassist & drummer give the music plenty of bite--not surprising, perhaps, given that Marshall was originally the drummer for Soft Machine.This disc starts out quietly & freely, with the opening "Canticle with Response" (there's that church-music influence again) & "A Distant Spring"; it closes the same way, with an entirely improvised "Triptych", nearly 15 minutes of highly intelligent & empathetic interplay between first subdivisions of the band & then all four musicians. In the middle of the disc there's some surprisingly forceful music, including "Tess" (Surman's also a Thomas Hardy fan) & "Across the Bridge". Surman's playing is always lyrical & passionate, & often has an edge to it that I don't get from his other recordings.A good disc. Those who enjoy it will want to investigate Surman's work with Bley (including the two discs with another forceful British drummer, Tony Oxley), & I would also recommend his work on the fine Tomasz Stanko disc _From the Green Hill_."
A Living Music
D. Peterson | Orem, Utah United States | 09/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although overlooked by most people, John Surman's work is a highly personal, expressive music and this quartet date certainly shows that. The quartet engages in improvisation very typical of the ECM label, yet it does so with a keen sense of conversational interaction. They show that by lowering the overall dynamic level they are able to raise the music's intensity through other means. The rhythm section is among the most responsive around and Surman himself remains a hugely distinctive saxophonist and clarinetist. The two baritone numbers are highlights of this stimulating set."