SOS: Looking for the Next One

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Cuneiform Rune Records
ALBUM TITLE: SOS: Looking for the Next One
WORKS: Looking for the Next One
PERFORMER: John Surman, Mike Osborne, Alan Skidmore (saxophones, plus other instruments)


SOS (Skidmore/Osborne/Surman) was the first all-saxophonist, rather than all-saxophone, group, since Surman regularly used electronics and Skidmore sometimes played drums. I was lucky enough to see them three times in 1975 (on the second Elton Dean substituted for Osborne) and the third of those gigs is represented here. I also recall some exciting radio broadcasts (hopefully these may be in the BBC archive somewhere) and I have almost worn out my copy of their rare LP on Ogun, so the performances on this set (which are largely unreleased) are a welcome addition to the discography, easily equalling and often surpassing their other sessions.

Frequently ferocious, always brilliantly conceived, adventurous and executed with stunning power and precision, the tracks include repertoire staples such as ‘Country Dance’ as well as rarer pieces. It’s especially good to have more un-issued work from Osborne, who was unable to play in public for many years before his death in 2007.


Barry Witherden