The music on 'Songs About This and That' originated from a commissioned work by singer Karin Krog and saxophonist John Surman for the Voss Festival in Norway. Known widely for their own individual albums as well as their collaborations on ECM Records, "Songs About This and That" reveals a different dimension to the creativity of these two incredible musicians.
From the soundscape of the opening track, which has a Japanese traditional folk feel about it, through to jazz and theatrical rock with cabaret undertones, each track flows effortlessly into the next as though the varying styles are natural bedfellows. A 'suite' of songs with poetic and beguiling lyrics, the music is presented in different styles - some very structured, and others with a much broader improvised concept.
The lyrics are personal and understanding them is left primarily to the imagination of the listener. Karin does offer some insights though; ''The Pebble Song was inspired by my watching our grand-daughter playing on the beach and picturing myself doing just the same as a child - the Rain Song, simply by observing life through a window on a rainy day. The Monk Song is, of course, a tribute to Thelonious Monk and the Question Song reflects light-heartedly on some of the ways we could look at life. As to the others, well, we hope that you discover your own meanings in them - or simply just enjoy the music!'' - Karin Krog
Personnel: Karin Krog (vocals), John Surman (soprano and baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, bass recorder), Bjørn Klakegg (guitar), Terje Gewelt (bass), Ivar Kolve (vibraphone), Tom Oldstad (drums)
(4 stars) Like Norma Winstone, that wavering edge in the timbre that the passing years brings actually adds to Krog's emotional palette, bringing a fragility to, for example, 'Mirror Song'. The work of these two artists remains as vital as ever. --Jazzwise, (Andy Robson), April 2014
(4 stars) It would be hard to find two talents more well-matched...These nine songs bring out the special qualities of them both. Krog's apparently simple style has a clarity and precision that becomes more telling with the passage of time, while Surman never fails to surprise you with some new texture or sudden change of direction. --The Observer, (Dave Gelly), February 2, 2014