JOHN SURMAN — Way Back When (review)

JOHN SURMAN — Way Back When album cover Album · 2005 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Sean Trane
Upon leaving in late 69 the UK for Belgium to live and work with his The Trio, with US citizens Bare Phillips and Stu Martin (both had visa or work permit problems in the Isles), Surman held one last jam session with his peers, buddies & colleagues at Tangerine studios, which soon close down and “lose” the master tapes in the mess. Discovered in 03, these were released on the awesome Cuneiform label in 05, without much extra mixing other than the rough mix done way back then. So you’ll be getting a somewhat raw live sound, but then again these guys were such pros, that it sounds just fine some 40 years later. With the usual Marshall, Taylor and Odgers, they played a lengthy track, but were joined later by Osborne for the later recordings.

Upon what could’ve been the A-side, we’ve got the four-part sidelong 21-mins title track, which is played by the quartet, with Taylor’s Rhodes opening slightly dissonant over Marshall’s cymbal ticklings. Just after Surman plays the main theme, Odgers throws on the table the up-tempo riff to allow Saxman to take it to the hilt and score a few touchdowns. The whole Way Back reminiscence is an enchanting ballad between a Rhodes, a bass guitar, Marshall’s superb drumming and of course the Su(pe)rman of sax. As we get to what could’ve been the flipside, Osborne finally got here and his influence is immediately felt on Owlshead (a john Warren composition), but Mike restrains himself from going over the dissonant line. Indeed this fusion-esque track is mainly Taylor’s showcase (IMO), while the closing jazzier Out And About is more the sax duet’s moment, but Surman’s soprano can handle Osborne’s alto any day of the week.

Well, if it was up to me, I’d tell you that Cuneiform’s WBW album is probably the most essential early Surman album that you could own, even though we can’t really call it an historical album, due to these sessions’ post-recording bad adventures. But likein fairy tales, all is well that ends well.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Open Secret Post Bop
OLGA KONKOVA
Buy this album from MMA partners
Piotr Damasiewicz & Into The Roots : Watra World Fusion
PIOTR DAMASIEWICZ
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Nightfly : Live Pop/Art Song/Folk
DONALD FAGEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Daniel Carter & Jim Clouse : Playing Retention 21st Century Modern
DANIEL CARTER
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Lagrimas Negras
RON CARTER
js· 9 hours ago
Hymn For my Brother
OLGA KONKOVA
snobb· 9 hours ago
Aja (Live From The Orpheum Theatre)
STEELY DAN
js· 14 hours ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us