This site attempts to provide a chronological list of recordings featuring John Surman, be they commercially-released albums, radio or TV broadcasts, audience recordings, film soundtracks or otherwise.
The listing does not pretend to be complete, either in terms of documented live performances, or of differing issues of official releases. In terms of the former, it is impossible to know how many concerts were recorded by members of the audience, or how many of those recordings survive. Radio and television broadcasts are no less difficult to document, since many tapes were wiped subsequent to broadcast (even by national broadcasting organisations) in which case only airchecks would document the recording, if any were made. Consequently, this site is a work in progress, and is likely to remain so for ever.
I have also begun to add details of performances that were not recorded as far as I am aware. Please realise that these ‘gigs’ entries make no claims to completeness. I would however welcome information on Surman’s performances.
I would appreciate any and all corrections, queries, updates and other information that you may have, but please note that this is not a commercial undertaking, and I do not have copies of any of this material for sale.
Many people have contributed to the researching and compilation of this list. For officially-released recordings, John Surman’s official website provides a basic starting point. I am indebted to both Johann Haidenbauer and Dan Kurdilla for answering my requests for information, and for their excellent discographies where fuller and more detailed information may be found; some of the annotation here is Dan’s. Particular thanks to David Butler for information on ‘The Cairn’. Udo Sawinski’s site is an invaluable source of information on JG Records (and other things).
Information on the unissued recordings has been drawn from a number of public and private sources: the British Library’s Sound Archive; the BBC’s programme catalogue; Paul Wilson’s awe-inspiring John Stevens discography; David Meeker’s ‘Jazz On The Screen: a jazz and blues filmography’; the Anthony Braxton gigography project (thanks to Jon Piper). Numerous private collectors have provided information: I am grateful to Jakob Blumenthal, Flurin Casura, Dr Emil Ceska, Stephen Didymus, Jörg Fischer, Dan Kurdilla, Peter Losin, Tom Phillips, Henning Scheck, Simon Spillett, Terry Sullivan, briggY, folkishienne/audio grail, hogweeds, hopboy, jkeisers, jogemimu, idi, todtap, yorick.