The great British saxophonist hand-picked these selections culled from his lengthy discography - as a sideman and leader - for Germany’s ECM Records. As part of the record label’s ongoing Rarum
series, these selections are documented with a brief bio amid the saxophonist’s comments and the personnel listings.
The first piece "Druid’s Choice," is lifted from Surman’s 1994 release "A Biography of the Rev. Absalom Dawe." On this composition, Surman overlays soprano and baritone saxes for a solo performance teeming with sweetness and lament. His soprano work on "Ogeda," from guitarist John Abercrombie’s 1992 effort "November," signifies a lightly swinging opus. As the guitarist delicately comps behind Surman’s linearly executed soloing, where the band seamlessly elevates the delightful motif into a probingly melodic theme. On many of the highly charged progressive jazz works, Surman’s soaring lines are often marked by a sense of yearning amid notions of revelation and wisdom. During some of these selections, the listener will be treated to ostinato synth patterns and ventures into the free zone. Surman goes it alone on "The Snooper," which is a title featured on his 1984 effort "Withholding Pattern." Here, the artist’s bass clarinet excursions provide credence to the track title. Thus, he elicits a sense of nosiness via a methodical approach and a complexly woven melody. Overall, this release highlights Surman’s enormous talents and impressive legacy in rather glorious and all-telling fashion. (Strongly recommended.... )