Born in Tavistock, Devon in 1944, composer/multi-instrumentalist John Surman is one of the key figures in a generation of European musicians who have crucially expanded the international horizons of jazz during the past thirty years or so. Long acknowledged as an improviser of world class, Surman has also composed a body of work, which extends far beyond the normal range of the jazz repertoire. Already, by the late 60s, it was clear that Surman was a phenomenon. He started out as a teenager playing the music of fellow Devonian Mike Westbrook, and then amazed the London establishment with displays of extravagant instrumental proficiency combined with a passionate, rumbustious imagination. John Surman is a perennial poll winner, and in 1989 received the Bird Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival and a Wire Award for services to jazz in Britain. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by Plymouth University in 1997 and the BBC voted him ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in 2002.