Gramophone, Editor's Choice
The formula is simple. An ad hoc string quartet with a willingness to "fit" the music, an ace saxophonist with case full of different instruments (soprano and baritone saxophones, bass and contrabass clarinets) and a bass player who can swim happily with the improvisational tide. … The opening "At Dusk" conjures the purity of a Bach chorale. … Coruscating is an after-hours listen, thoughtful yet undemanding, imaginative but unpretentious.
Rob Cowan, Gramophone
Mild-mannered master reedsman John Surman has excelled himself with Coruscating. … Surman's compositions are quintessentially English. Some have pointed to echoes of Vaughan Williams and Britten (I would add Byrd) in these exquisite miniatures whose filigree structures support elegant solos. Some of the less jazz oriented songs could be said to rank with some of the best new classical music to have emerged in this country in recent years.
Mike Bradley, The Times
A breathtakingly beautiful and melancholic album.
Chris Ingham, Mojo
A perfect addition to the ECM catalogue. The purity of Surman's playing - the agility and poise of his soprano, the sonorous dignity of his clarinets and the gruff plaintiveness of his baritone - makes him an obvious candidate for classically-oriented pieces. The elegance and grace of these compositions, full of clear, memorable melodies but drawing on jazz influences as well as on chamber music and English folk, render them eminently suitable as vehicles for such an uncontrived and cultured fusion of styles.
Chris Parker, Jazz Review
Surman's compositions are steeped in his characteristic and very English pastoral feel, providing the improvisers with an often hauntingly beautiful base from which to launch their coruscating forays, whether on Surman's range of horns or Laurence's majestic bass. A beautiful and beautifully realised project.
Kenny Mathieson, Jazzwise
A strong musical voice offers a programme of variety and imagination. Very ECM in conception: highly original music, superb performances, fine recording and stylish presentation.
James Jolly, Gramophone
Deserves to sell as many copies as Jan Garbarek's collaborations with the Hilliard Ensemble. Stunningly successful, with Laurence's double-bass stepping lightly between the notated contributions of the string quartet and Surman's improvisations.
Phil Johnson, The Independent on Sunday
Das Aufeinandertreffen von klassischen Streichquartetten mit außerklassischen Solisten ist längst keine Provokation mehr. Doch während da oft die stilistische Versöhnung mehr gewagt als zu Ende musiziert wurde, öffnet nun John Surman mit dem Quartett Trans4mation sowie dem Ex-Kontrabassisten von St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Chris Laurence, ganz weit die Pforte für seine weitverzweigten Stimmungsbilder. Hier sind die musikalischen Weltmeere mit aller Vorsicht ausgekundschaftet worden, um das Zusammenrücken der Klangkontinente so plausibel wie möglich zu machen.
Guido Fischer, Jazzthetik
added December 15, 2000