Way Back When

by John Surman

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Owlshead 13:56


This is a truly stupendous archival find, with broad appeal to both jazz and early fusion fans. This never before released album was recorded on October 7th, 1969 by John Surman and British jazz superstars. It is a mix between the vibrancy of late 60's uk jazz and spacey early electric jazz/rock ala "In A Silent Way"; listening to this album, you can hear that the fusion explosion is on the cusp of happening. Soprano/baritone saxophonist John Surman is one of the UK's best known jazzmen, having released 8 albums under his own name between 1968 - 1974 for mainstream labels such as Deram and Island. He was a member of John McLaughlin's final UK-based group, recording John's famous first solo album, Extrapolation with him in 1969, six months before recording Way Back When. Since the late 1970's, he has mostly recorded for the ECM label, recording dozens of albums as either the leader or as a sideman.

"In mid-October, 1969, I left the UK to meet up with bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Stu Martin to begin working with them as "The Trio". Before I left however, a few close friends and I held a sort of 'farewell' session in Tangerine Studios in London. On hand were drummer John Marshall, electric pianist John Taylor and Brian Odgers on bass guitar - later Mike Osborne appeared with his alto and joined us. Shortly after I left England, the studios closed down and, although a few test pressings were made, the original tapes got lost in the general confusion. Much to my surprise the masters had survived and were uncovered in 2003...what you are hearing accurately reflects the sound of the sixties...it offers genuine insight into some of the musical directions that were being explored at the end of that swinging decade in the UK."
– John Surman


released May 10, 2005


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