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John Surman: The Spaces in Between

The Spaces in Between is one of John Surman’s periodic exercises in classical music. Only on the opening “Moonlighter,” on which Surman’s baritone sax meanders seductively against Chris Laurence’s loping bass and Trans4mation’s accompaniment, is either the mood or the method jazzy. It’s also the best piece on the disc.

The remainder of Spaces is chamber music. Trans4mation, a string quartet, dominates nearly every track; Surman’s bass clarinet and bari and soprano saxes appear frequently, but play textbook classical lines and flourishes-especially the soprano (“Winter Wish,” “Now See!”), which sounds like an oboe in both timbre and orchestral role.

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