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Transylvanian Folksongs by Lucian Ban, John Surman and Mat Maneri was an important part of the folk tradition strand of our Jazzfest Berlin last edition in November. As I was not able to attend the concert then at Kaiser Wilhelm Memory Church, I was glad of getting a second chance in Münster. It was a projective re-creation of the ‘retrojective’ field recordings and transcriptions of composer Bela Bartók. It couldn’t be expected a balkanised form of jazz. It revealed as the unfolding of song lines from a remote past inscribed in an airy layer stretching above the soil of a virtual ground.



The interplay between John Surman on bass clarinet and soprano sax and Mat Maneri was one of deep mutual understanding and careful meshing and confluence – confluence not in the temperate way, though, but more rubato, in mindful slowness gliding along microtonal fringes and edges. Thus both musicians created an intriguing collaborative working interim between the deep sources and the breath of the stage moment, all provided and sustained by Ban’s bedding of sparse melodic hints and falling rhythmic impulses.


The act of bringing in the distant sources manifested itself prismatically in the musicians‘ progressively unfolding flow of playing,  sharpening and deepening the listening experience as well as the bond with the listeners and their absorption in the music. In that process the music covered a considerable distance of transmission from its oral origins via Bartok’s recording and documentation to today’s realities of experience, to ‘reading’ and re-creation in the presence.

This procedure created an imaginative space to be acted out, getting enriched and projected into further momentum full of soulfulness and empathy. It transcended simple sentimentality and bathing in nostalgia. Mat Maneri and John Surman were in top form and Lucian Ban made them shine, especially in the touching “Violin Song”.  


Seen at International Jazzfestival Münster 2023

John Surmans Soloalabum „Road To St. Ives“ gefällt mir ausgesprochen gut! Die erste Begegnung mit seinem keyboardbegleiteten Solospiel war tatsächlich „Upon Reflection“ (nur das Stück, nicht die ganze Platte… vielleicht sogar mal in den Klanghorizonten…?) Seitdem hab ich das im schwärmenden Ohr. Und hier werde ich vollends glücklich. Surman hat zudem einen Klang, dem man sich nicht einfach so entziehen kann.

Ich fand oft Gefallen an Solo-Bläsern, zB. Giger-Chartre, Hintze-Passages, Horn-Inside, Thompson-Songs from the Center. Aber noch schöner sind solche Surman-Sachen. Auch Conny Bauer, den ich aus dem OstJazz verehre, nutzt seit langer Zeit die loopbox…  oder was man dazu braucht…  So etwas trägt mich sonstwohin, habe da sensible Antennen. Sehr schön und erfrischend auf der ROAD sind aber auch die ganz kurzen Entwürfe. 

herzlich grüßend
Olaf (Ost)

2019 11 Sep


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„With its wistful tone, subtle, folky score and confidence in letting dialogue and sentiments breathe, The Detectorists is a show that does not feel the need to shout about its strengths. In fact, the series is not even really about metal-detecting. The hobby could be replaced by trainspotting, bird-watching or just spending too much time in the shed. It’s what these characters are running from, as much as what they are looking for, that lies at its heart.“

(David Renshaw, The Guardian).



Frinton, with its wide sandy beach, has gone out of its way to remain as uncommercialised as possible and maintain its reputation as a quiet resort. Somewhat in contrast to neighbouring Clacton or Walton it has an air of reserved gentility and has been rewarded for its outstanding experimental music scene with a Blue Flag award. Karl Hyde, Rustin Man, and John Surman know this area quite well. And, it’s just one hour away from Brian Eno‘s hometown in Suffolk. The area where W. G. Sebald had been walking around for weeks and weeks, in search of inspiration for  his wonderful book „The Rings of Saturn“.

The gently shelving beach is divided up by a series of timber groynes. Frinton’s sand is of the type that is perfect for making sandcastles – nice and firm. This means it is also ideal for running around and beach games, further asserting its credentials as being a natural playground for young and old. To the rear of the beach is an extensive promenade, much of which is lined with colourful, old-fashioned beach huts. There is also an extensive grassy area, the Greensward, which is an ideal spot for a picnic. So, beach time will soon be starting – see ya again, in thunder, lightnin‘, or in rain. And, by the way, one of the best British comedy TV series ever, three seasons long and utterly brilliant, was made nearby, „The Detectorists“.


2019 23 Aug

fragments from a private city

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Ah, the reverse sentiment

of emptiness,

like in a Terry Riley- or 

Cluster-moment – 

that field of minimalism –

shines through „Not Love Perhaps“

under John Surman‘s soprano sax.


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