For my first post I would like to give you a very original and unusual album that has really entranced me.
John Surman (baritone & soprano saxes, bass clarinet, synths), Mike Osborne (alto sax, percussion), Alan Skidmore (tenor sax, drums, percussion).
Like a british Urban Sax or Budi and Gumbls, this constitutes a trio of saxes that performs jazzy prog with some really interesting and varied compositions. Well worth checking out, not only for the jazz fan, but for any progressive interested person or educated musical individual. This kind of experimentation of course was very much a part of the late seventies. Though often imitated nowadays, the mastery of all three different streams-- rock, jazz, classical-- is something that is difficult to find in current music.
Before WSQ or Rova, there was SOS, one of the most startlingly original and certainly one of the most popular acts to appear on Ogun. Surman, Osborne and Skidmore had long since contrived to work together in each other’s respective musical environments, and when hired for big bands (Brotherhood, Westbrook, Gibbs) they always came as a unit. They worked brilliantly and naturally together.
While much of this album is naturally given over to ruminations and explosions by the three saxophones – as tender as Ellington on “Where’s Junior?” – Surman also uses liberal doses of his then new electronica, and Skidmore takes a rare turn behind the drumkit, such that the awesome “Goliath” virtually invents prog-improv, Osborne’s alto howling over Surman’s stately synth chords, like ELP, only good. And the closing, lengthy “Calypso” investigates an area of candidly troubled electronic music which would not be properly followed up until Autechre two decades later.
Please enjoy this magnificent 'lost' (no longer) album. Oh, and please-- check out their hair, on the cover.