Reedman John Surman and drummer Stu Martin had both played together in bands with John McLaughlin and Dave Holland in years prior to this recording, and their kinship shows in this loosely structured live recording. At this stage in his career, Surman was still coming largely out of the high energy end of the avant-garde, wielding his baritone as a powerful bludgeon; later on he would move to more pastoral climes in his tenure with ECM. He had always been fascinated by combining electronics (generally in the form of synthesizers) with his reeds, as seen by his contemporaneous sax trio SOS with Mike Osborne and Alan Skidmore, in with electric keyboards. Here, Martin utilizes a synthesizer on several tracks alternately forming a throbbing matrix in which the sax and drums are embedded or a pulsating counterpoint. Even so, the human interplay remains pretty much in the forefront and, at heart, what you have is a solid if unspectacular free duo session. It's nominally based on a radio serial (about which the less said the better), hence the track titles. Surman shows good command of all his reeds though one suspects his real affinity is for more melodic material. Martin is all over the place, making up in enthusiasm what he perhaps lacked in touch and listening ability, though both kick things into high gear on "Master of Disaster." The concert was issued on disc as part of a two-CD set called John Surman and Friends: The Dawn Sessions on Sequel. ~ Brian Olewnick
Reedman John Surman and drummer Stu Martin had both played together in bands with John McLaughlin and Dave Holland in years prior to this recording, and their kinship shows in this loosely structured live recording originally released on Pye in 1976.