Monday, September 7, 2009

John Surman Quartet @ Birdland 9/5/09

I knew I wanted to go to this based on the sidemen. I hadn't heard of Surman before. I just read the AAJ article and it's probably because he doesn't get over here much. It turns out the reason I don't see as many of the great European artists is because it's so hard to get a visa to play here. What a shame.

I also saw a lot of hype that made me want to get there even more. Jack DeJohnette at "not Blue Note" was enough, but the Surman hype was extra encouragement.

Wow. There were many moments where I completely forgot about the sidemen. John is so compelling. There is something so different about the way he plays the baritone. It's so melodic. He also hits more high notes than other baritone players seem to. He also played the soprano, and that's when I was really able to see how different his style is. AAJ says it's his tone and the lack of cliche playing. It's true.

The other guys were of course phenomenal. When I could take my attention away from John I would be blown away by any of them. I definitely enjoyed John Abercrombie on guitar. There was a late night at Jazz Standard last year where I got bored. Here, he played similarly and I liked the music a lot more.

ECM Records CD Release Celebration
with: John Abercrombie (guitar)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Drew Gress (bass)

Tuesday-Saturday, September 1-5 @ 8:30 & 11pm
Music Charges: $30, general seating; $40, premium seating

Born in Tavistock, Devon in 1944, composer/multi-instrumentalist John Surman is one of the key figures in a generation of European musicians who have crucially expanded the international horizons of jazz during the past thirty years. The surprise and enduring pleasure of Surman's art is the contrast of simple, haunting melody, lush orchestral textures and intense improvisation. Along with leader John Surman on saxophone and bass clarinet, the quartet features Drew Gress on bass, John Abercrombie on guitar and Jack DeJohnette on drums.

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