JOHN SURMAN — Brewster's Rooster

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JOHN SURMAN - Brewster's Rooster cover
4.66 | 7 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2009

Filed under Post Bop
By JOHN SURMAN

Tracklist

1 Slanted Sky 6:33
2 Hilltop Dancer 7:26
3 No Finesse 6:51
4 Kickback 7:24
5 Chelsea Bridge 5:48
6 Haywain 6:18
7 Counter Measures 10:43
8 Brewster's Rooster 6:36
9 Going For A Burton 6:47

Total Time: 64:48

Line-up/Musicians

John Surman — baritone and soprano saxophones
John Abercrombie — guitar
Drew Gress — double-bass
Jack DeJohnette — drums

About this release

ECM Records ‎– ECM 2046(Germany)

Recorded September 2007 at Avatar Studios, New York

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates

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JOHN SURMAN BREWSTER'S ROOSTER reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Steve Wyzard
ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2009

While I certainly haven't heard absolutely every jazz album released in 2009, all competitors will be very hard pressed to match the beautiful virtuosity of Brewster's Rooster. This is John Surman's first straight-ahead album in some time, and the all-star support should be enough to motivate any listener to buy it instantly. Drummer Jack DeJohnette has collaborated with Surman on numerous occasions dating back to the 1960's. Guitarist John Abercrombie had Surman guest on his 1993 November album, and both were heard on Barre Phillips' 1976 album, Mountainscapes. Brewster's Rooster is the first ECM recording for New York double-bassist Drew Gress, who has also played in Abercrombie's band. While the usual naysayers will grumble about the ages of the players or that the music is not intense enough, this album will undoubtably be among the best ECM releases of this decade.

Surman plays the soprano sax on only two of the nine tracks, the leisurely opener "Slanted Sky" and the album's longest track "Counter Measures". While I would have liked to hear more of Surman's thoughtful, airy soprano tone, his unparalleled work on the baritone sax is featured on the remaining compositions. The busy "Hilltop Dancer" has Surman and Abercrombie doubling the melody line. The slow grooving "No Finesse" (like "Slanted Sky") opens with a Gress solo, and Surman demonstrates that "delicate" and "baritone" really do go together. "Kickback" lays to rest any misunderstandings that this might be an easy-listening set: after a fluid Abercrombie solo, the fiery center section is a wild duet between DeJohnette and Surman. "Chelsea Bridge" is this album's ballad, while "Haywain" is a feather-ruffling free piece. The title track is driven by a tricky Gress bassline, and Surman and Abercrombie once again double the melody line. The unbridled joy of "Going for a Burton" brings the proceedings to a close, and there can be no doubt that everyone involved had great fun throughout the sessions.

The moods, textures, and atmospheres of Brewster's Rooster make for easy comparison with many of the performers' previous albums. All are still at the top of their games, with the added wisdom of experience and interplay. After releasing a number of less-accessible experimental projects, this almost feels like a comeback album for John Surman, but technically, it's not. Sorry, cynics and conservatives, Brewster's Rooster is proof positive that jazz is alive, well, and thriving!

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