John Surman, Words Unspoken, ECM *****

By now some six years since we have had a new ECM album by the iconic British saxophonist and bass clarinettist John Surman, who turns 80 later in 2024, Words Unspoken is a beautiful, resonant, quartet album that, like its predecessor, Invisible …

Published: 7 Feb 2024. Updated: 21 days.

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By now some six years since we have had a new ECM album by the iconic British saxophonist and bass clarinettist John Surman, who turns 80 later in 2024, Words Unspoken is a beautiful, resonant, quartet album that, like its predecessor, Invisible Threads, was recorded at the Rainbow in Oslo. American vibist Rob Waring who like Surman lives in Norway is once again in Surman's band but both are joined for the first time by British guitarist Rob Luft and by Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen.

It's all very pared back and softly conveyed containing a pastoral, naturalistic feel shaped around robust motifs that are delicately unpeeled harmonically by Luft and Waring while Surman himself weaves weighty explorations around the themes with both a gravitas and a sense of grace and playfulness as active ingredients. Quite wonderful - and certainly up there with some of Surman's best work in a long and distinguished career. SG

Released on 16 February. The title track 'Words Unspoken' and 'Pebble Dance' are streaming

l-r in the photo: John Surman, Thomas Strønen, Rob Luft and Rob Waring

Tags: reviewsnew releases, iconsUK/Ireland-led, by lead artist(s) in reviews

Denny Ilett, Vimala Rowe and Stuart Henderson are among the line-up at this month's Wallingford Winter Blues and Jazz Weekender

The Night Herons, Fleur Stevenson, Rebecca Poole & Vimala Rowe, Denny llett and his Jimi Hendrix tribute band, Stuart Henderson, Jez Cook and Enrico Tommaso are all among the line-up at this month's Wallingford Winter Blues and Jazz Weekender …

Published: 6 Feb 2024. Updated: 22 days.

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The Night Herons, Fleur Stevenson, Rebecca Poole & Vimala Rowe, Denny llett and his Jimi Hendrix tribute band, Stuart Henderson, Jez Cook and Enrico Tommaso are all among the line-up at this month's Wallingford Winter Blues and Jazz Weekender to be held at a range of venues in the Oxfordshire town including St Mary's church, the Masonic Centre and the Corn Exchange.

Dates are 16-18 Feb. More details are here. Denny Ilett pictured, above