Exposé Online banner

S.O.S. — Looking for the Next One
(Cuneiform Rune 360/361, 1975/2013, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-06-24

Looking for the Next One Cover artFormed in April 1974 by British jazz giants John Surman, Mike Osborne and Alan Skidmore, the unique thing about this ensemble is that all three members are primarily woodwind players. Osborne is an alto sax player, doubling on percussion; Skidmore plays tenor and soprano sax and doubles on drums; Surman plays soprano and baritone sax, bass clarinet, keyboards and synthesizer. No guitars of any kind here. Working with composed material and plenty of space for improvisation, the group made a single self-titled album on the Ogun label sometime in 1975 (reissued on CD in 2006). With Looking for the Next One, Cuneiform has released the ultimate set of supplemental material that connects many of the dots during the band's short three year existence. The first disc of this set is studio material recorded in '74, well before the LP's release, as well as some studio recordings from late '75, including several that could have been for a second album that never was to be. If you want to hear what a complete track with three saxes and no other instruments can do, "Rashied" – a track written by Rashied Ali, is exhibit A. On these 1974 tracks one can hear themes that would later find their way into the material for the studio LP, whereas on the later studio cuts from September '75, we hear the evolution of the band-composed "Country Dance" and some new directions that the trio was going, like "Q.E.Hall" and a sax arrangement of the traditional "Mountain Road," both with drummer Tony Levin sitting in. Most of the band's material is arranged for two woodwinds and one other instrument, which is usually – but not always Surman's piano or synths. The real gem here is the second disc, a 66 minute live set recorded at the Balver Hoehle jazz festival in July '74. The performance consists of two extended arrangements that contain several of the cuts that would end up on the studio record: "Country Dance," "Where’s Junior?" and "Cycle Motion" are parts of lengthy suite titled "Up There," while "Goliath" and "1st" are parts of a longer arrangement simply titled "Suite." Mastered by Mike King, there is a detailed history of the band in the booklet by Bill Shoemaker, as well as rare photos and press clips that make this set a must-have archival set for anyone interested in the British jazz scene of the 1970s.

Filed under: Archives, 2013 releases, 1975 recordings

Related artist(s): John Surman, S.O.S., Alan Skidmore

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lana Lane - Garden of the Moon – When one has to crank out fifty or sixty reviews per issue, you pretty much have to be listening to music at every possible opportunity, including hours spent at the so-called day job. Usually it's...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues