John Surman is an exceptionally versatile musician and his instrumental prowess has been showcased in many contexts. Yet his solo albums may be the best sources for insights into his melodic imagination. If you want to understand the wellsprings of his creativity, the solo albums are the place to go; “Saltash Bells” ranks with the best of them. This time around the compositions were inspired by the West Country of John’s English childhood, memories of special places – and sounds. The title track refers to the echoes of bell ringing from Saltash church resounding around the Tamar River valley, at the border of Cornwall and Devon. “Whistman’s Wood”, meanwhile, evokes the mysterious petrified forest of Dartmoor … And so it goes, ancient haunts inspiring vivid new music.