John Surman Trio – radio and tv broadcast

Recorded June 8, 1975, Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall, Hamburg 110. NDR Jazz Workshop, 1. New Jazz Festival unissued

John Surman, soprano and baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Barre Phillips, bass; Dieter Feichtner, synthesizer

When the Bean Cake Rises (Surman/Phillips/Feichtner) 45:58

audio here video here (youtube)


Various artists – ‘Internationales New Jazz Meeting Auf Burg Altena’

Recorded June 27 1970, Altena, Germany, except the Trio, recorded June 26 JG 21/22 (Germany) [2LP]

Jiggs Whigham Trio
Joachim Kühn Eje Thelin Group & Rolf Kühn

Wolfgang Dauner Trio

Albert Mangelsdorff Quartett
New Jazz Trio

Dave Pike Set
John Surman Trio – Unknown title 6:36
Oh, Dear (Surman) 4:34

John Surman, baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Barre Phillips, bass; Stu Martin, drums

Various artists – ‘Remembering ’70’

Recorded in Dortmund, Altena and Iserlohn 1970  JG Records JG 24/25 (LP)

Four City Seven and One
Blackbirds of Paradise
Sidewalk Hot Jazz Orchestra
Niels Unbehagen Quartett

Dave Pike Set
Rüdiger Schulz Quartett
Jan Huydts Trio und Theo Lovendie

Wolfgang Dauner Trio
Alexander v. Schlippenbach Trio
John Surman Trio + Alan Skidmore – Dee Tune
Alan Skidmore – tenor and soprano saxophones; John Surman – baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Barre Phillips – bass; Stu Martin – drums

Champion Jack Dupree
Xhol Caravan

although there is no conclusive evidence, it is likely that the Trio track on this set derives from the Internationales New Jazz Meeting auf Burg Altena on 26 June 1970 (also featured on JG21/22 – above)


February 26, 1970

GIGS: John Surman Trio – February 1970, Torrington, Finchley; 100 Club, London. Barry McRae in Jazz Journal 23/4 (April 1970) wrote: “Judging from the size of audiences at Finchley’s Torrington and the 100 Club during his February visit, London fans were as pleased to see John Surman as he was to be home. Musically, he reflected this enthusiasm and the new trio, copiously rehearsed in Belgium, is the best he has ever fronted. Bassist Barre Phillips has worked here with Jimmy Giuffre, John Tchicai and our own S.M.E. and both he and fellow American Stu Martin read the Surman method with style and aggression. At the Torrington the trio provided the entire programme and, after acoustical teething problems had been solved offered the best sound balance of the two venues. Phillips’ inventive bass work is not always delivered with either the power or incisiveness to cut through the busy ensemble and at the 100 Club he was occasionally lost in the welter of sound. He did, however, have much to say, and with Martin fragmenting the rhythmic lower layer, it was the bass that carried the responsibility for providing tempo maintenance and chorus ending demarcation lines. Surman, as always when in form, veered from rhapsodic and orthodox balladeering to ragingly hysterical screaming, without any suggestion of incongruity. In fact, in some of freer moments he produced extempore, thematic snippets that show why he produced such good tunes when he sits down in the cold light of day.

At the 100 Club he shared the bill with Mike Osborne. The altoist is now himself an extremely potent performer and he enjoys the very vibrant support of Harry Miller (bs) and the indefatigable Louis Moholo (dm). In a sense their rhythmic approach is the very antithesis of the Surman Trio….

These two trios rate with any in Europe and quite a large number in America and prove that when a saxophonist is truly inventive, he will find no better platform from which to air his voice than a sympathetic trio.”

The John Surman Trio – radio broadcast

Recorded January 30, 1970, Jazzhaus Hamburg unissued

John Surman, reeds; Barre Phillips, bass; Stu Martin, drums

Foyer Hall (Martin) 14:15

Silvercloud (Phillips) 12:43

Joachim (Martin) 9:54

In Between (Surman) 12:05

Caractacus (Surman) 13:37

Tallness (Surman) 19:01

Dee Tune (Surman) 11:11

Porte des Lilas (Cooke) 10:47

B. L. (Phillips) 4:21

Spikenard (Phillips) 3:27



January 29, 1970

GIGS: John Surman Trio – January 29 1970, Spectrum Club, Kiel

John Surman Trio – ‘Live In Altena’ JG Records 018 (Germany) [LP]

Recorded January 10, 1970, Altena, Germany

John Surman, baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Barre Phillips, bass; Stu Martin, drums

Billie The Kid (Martin)
Tallness (Surman)
Dee Tune (Surman) 25:00

In Between (Surman)
Spikenard (Phillips) 18:30

Issued with three different sleeve designs: the first (above) and second (plain red with a gold sticker) were limited editions with red labels printed in black; the third sleeve was red with white printing (black labels printed in silver).


October 23, 1968

GIGS: Scott Walker – 4 October to 20 October 1968. Scott Walker’s backing on his 17-day UK tour was Ronnie Scott & The Band with additional members including Terry Smith (guitar) and (possibly) Tubby Hayes;

John Surman Trio – 11 October, London Jazz Centre Society, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square;

Ronnie Scott & The Band – 21 October, one week residency at Ronnie Scott’s club (see album entry below);

Mike Westbrook Concert Band, Ronnie Scott & The Band – 23 October, Jazz Expo ’68, Hammersmith Odeon, London. Jazz Expo ’68 reviewed by Barry McRae in Jazz Journal 21/12 (December 1968): “This year’s British contribution was larger than last and gave reason for continued optimism. I missed the Rendell-Carr set and thought that honours were divided between the Ronnie Scott Band and the Mike Westbrook Concert Band. Scott’s, the more confident and the more carefully arranged, offered fine solo work by Kenny Wheeler, John Surman, Ray Warleigh and the leader himself. The style might be described as mid-Atlantic hard bop with modern overtones but the result was stimulating.

Westbrook’s policy is more advanced and slightly more ambitious. At Expo, however, the band was not at its best. There seemed to be an air of nervousness amongst them and only the ubiquitous Surman and trombonist Malcolm Griffiths came near to their normal form. The collective passages by the band were good and a Shepp-like atmosphere created, as the moods were quickly changed – moving away from an r&b type stomp or tasteful balladeering by altoist Mike Osborn, to a raving flying home.”

Steve Voce reviewed Ronnie Scott & The Band in the same issue: “When it was announced I looked forward to Ronnie’s new band (with Kenny Wheeler, John Surman and Ray Warleigh), but suspected the idea of Tony Oxley and Tony Crombie on drums… I first heard the band on BBC 2 when it suffered the disadvantage of having to play a Glenn Miller number (to tie in with the Glenn Miller film which had just been shown). The noise was suitably daunting, primarily because I had been expecting the group to produce merely an up-dated version of earlier Scott band sounds. In the event Scott had given the younger musicians their head, with the result that the sound was undigestible at one brief hearing. However, reports say that, with reservations about the two drummers, the band is exciting and purposeful.”