Tim Berne: The Shell Game (2002)
On The Shell Game, Quicksand borrows ideas from Berne's Bloodcount quartet, incorporating open-ended improvisation within a disciplined architecture of arrangements. Replacing the bass with keyboards doesn't eliminate the bottom end; in fact, Taborn deploys some serious woofer-thumping throughout. Berne's music on The Shell Game unites his penchant for suites with a hip-hop sensibility. The opener, 'Hard Cell,' suggests the sounds of Brooklyn's M-BASE and Herbie Hancock's electric street jazz. Taborn lends support at both the top and the bottom end. Rainey's drum kit sounds more like found objects than skins: the harsh sound of his drum tuning resonates with the brawling nature of Berne's music. The third tune, 'Heavy Mental," presents hard bop for the new millennium, mixing fast and furious melodies with head-nodding bass. Berne's music, while demanding at times, can also yield immediate pleasure.
The disc ends with the nearly 30-minute tune 'Thin Ice.' This composition uses Sun Ra/Bladerunner electronic ambiance and processional drumming as the undertones for Berne's lengthy saxophone solo. Tim Berne's art is more about synthesis than collagean Ellington model for the outward bound.
Track Listing: Hard Cell; Twisted/Straight Jacket; Heavy Metal; Thin Ice.
Personnel: Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Craig Taborn: electronics, keyboards; Tom Rainey: drums.
Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz