Cuneiform Records has unearthed a hidden treasure of British jazz.“
– Audiophile Audition // „Any John Surman is welcome, but this is special…the music comes leaping at you from the start.“ – Peter Bevan / Northern Echo (UK)
„Flashpoint: NDR Jazz Workshop—April ’69 is a stunning discovery. Featuring unreleased material executed by a unique ten-piece line-up of European jazz luminaries, it provides a fascinating window into the development of British saxophonist John Surman at the very beginning of his career. Capturing an international all-star ensemble working through Surman’s formative concepts, this informal studio session was taped in Hamburg, Germany for the NDR Jazz Workshop, a weekly television series. Despite being recorded in mono for televised broadcast, the audio and video quality is remarkably good considering the source material. Released by Cuneiform as a double disc set, the CD contains the isolated audio tracks, while the DVD features the entire 45 minute performance as filmed, preserving snippets of illuminating in-between song banter as well.“ – Troy Collins / AllAboutJazz.com
John Surman – soprano and baritone sax
Alan Skidmore – tenor sax and flute
Ronnie Scott – tenor sax
Mike Osborne – alto sax
Kenny Wheeler – trumpet and flugelhorn
Malcolm Griffiths – trombone
Erich Kleinschuster – trombone
Fritz Pauer – piano
Harry Miller – bass
Alan Jackson – drums
For over 50 years, John Surman has been one of England’s best known modern jazz musicians. His career began in the late 60s as both a sideman and a leader with such notable greats as John McLaughlin, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, Terje Rypdal, Mike Westbrook, Barre Phillips, Albert Mangelsdorff, Chick Corea and many others. He began working with the ECM label in the late 1970s where he has released a string of fine work that continues to this day. Every period of his career is filled with highlights, which is why Cuneiform is exceedingly proud to release for the first time ever this amazing document of the late 60s ‚Brit-jazz‘ scene.
The NDR Jazz Workshop was a weekly show featuring all manner of jazzmen of the day. The taping of this NDR show was around the same time as Surman was recording his second album as a leader, How Many Clouds Can You See, so this is a unique chance to get an expanded view of his formative work as a leader and also at the early work of his musical compatriots who appear with him here. For this occasion, Surman led a ten-piece ensemble featuring the cream of modern British jazz players: John Surman – soprano and baritone sax, Kenny Wheeler – trumpet and flugelhorn, Alan Skidmore – tenor sax and flute, Ronnie Scott – tenor sax, Mike Osborne – alto sax, Malcolm Griffiths – trombone, Harry Miller – bass and Alan Jackson – drums, as well as two Austrian musicians, Fritz Pauer – piano and Erich Kleinschuster – trombone.
Heard (and seen on the CD+DVD version) on Flashpoint for the very first time since the original broadcast over 40 years ago are five great performances, including two excellent Surman compositions that he never recorded elsewhere. High quality audio recordings from these musicians from this period are quite rare and video footage is basically non-existent. Captured in excellent mono sound, this release is an exceptional and hugely important document that will blow the minds of Brit-jazz fans and will open the ears, eyes and minds of those who don’t know the great and distinctive work of these fine musicians!
„For fans of 60s Brit-jazz, the band is an absolute dream team featuring the era’s most vibrant players: Alan Skidmore and Ronnie Scott on tenor saxophones, the late Mike Osborne on alto, as well as Canadian trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, South African bassist Harry Miller and the criminally under-appreciated drummer Alan Jackson. They provide a big band heft that gives themes like Surman’s Western-tinged Mayflower an orchestral lushness….The clincher is the inclusion of a DVD, which presents the original German TV show from which the cuts are taken. Clear, crisp, black-and-white footage brings the date vividly to life, Surman a long-haired 24-year-old energetically throwing himself into his solos. It offers a rare chance to witness the eyes-tight-shut intensity of Osborne, and Skidmore’s verdant mop-top is quite a sight too. As a snapshot of deep 60s jazz, British or otherwise, this is 100% gold.“ – Daniel Spicer/BBC.co.uk
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