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Surrender To The Air
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Performer Notes
  • Surrender To The Air: Marshall Allen, Trey Anastasio, Kofi Burbridge, Oteil Burbridge, Damon R. Choice, Jon Fishman, Bob Gullotti, James Harvey, John Medeski, Michael Ray, Marc Ribot.
  • SURRENDER TO THE AIR was compiled from a weekend's worth of free-jamming by a small army of people who know their way around cosmic jazz explosions. Produced by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, it is a meeting of improvisers who utilize various techniques and represent different flavors of their art form. The stylistic diversity of this crowd--featuring three former/current members of sonic jazz pioneer Sun Ra's Arkestra, avant-rock guitarist Marc Ribot, Otis and Kofi Burbridge of the Aquarium Rescue Unit--contributes to a smorgasbord of sound.
  • The musicians roam open fields, leaving no dissonant stone unturned and no rhythmic tangent unexplored. They have no call for any sort of structure; four of the album's nine selections are even entitled "And Furthermore," as much a desire not to bother with formal names as an admission of musical long-windedness. Often, they teeter on that ecstatic line where jazz and improvisational rock collide--horns zig-zag through labyrinths created by John Medeski's keyboards, an ever-melting backbeat and the roar of the assembly. Moments of undefinable rapture sneak up on you often on SURRENDER TO THE AIR, and just as instantly fall back into the wondrous chaos.
  • Personnel: Trey Anastasio (vocals, guitar).
  • Audio Mixer: Ed Thacker.
  • Photographer: Danny Clinch.
  • Unknown Contributor Roles: James Harvey ; Damon Choice; John Medeski; Kofi Burbridge; Marc Ribot; Marshall Allen; Michael Ray ; Oteil Burbridge; Bob Gullotti.
  • Since guitarist Trey Anastasio is the leader of Phish, it would seem that he would sound nearly identical to his band when he's on his own. Not so. Surrender to the Air, his first solo release, recalls a free form, improvisation-based jazz record more than hippie rock; in that sense, it is close to the actual spirit of the Grateful Dead, if not their sound. Anastasio has assembled a diverse, experimental band featuring guitarist Marc Ribot, trumpeter Michael Ray, keyboardist John Medeski, and saxophonist Marshall Allen. With such a stellar cast, it isn't surprising that Anastasio lets his fellow musicians cut loose. Everyone improvises over a loose structure, disregarding conventional notions of melody or rhythms. Though Anastasio doesn't solo as much as some of his comrades, his open-minded spirit is evident throughout the record. Though many Phish fans might not initially enjoy Surrender to the Air, the guitarist should be commended for not resting on his laurels. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Professional Reviews
Down Beat (6/96, p.44) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...Anastasio directs varying combinations of players in open, structured improvisations...Credit Anastasio for defying commercial expectations with this gutsy, freewheeling ensemble effort."

Option (7-8/96, p.135) - "...Trey Anastasio is determined to push the proverbial envelope, even if he's not sure where it's going..."

Musician (5/96, p.93) - "...[Anastasio] captured some profound stuff, bouncing off manic guitarist Marc Ribot and keyboardist John Medeski, while Sun Ra trumpeter Michael Ray and saxist Marshall Allen turned the trip into a free-jazz-for-all, with admirably fluctuating levels of adrenaline..."
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