175

Hard Cell: Feign

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Hard Cell: Feign Once you've heard a couple of hours of Tim Berne's music, you can usually identify something new as his within just a few seconds. That distinctive character has something to do with his bittersweet alto playing, but it's also related to the way foreground and background layers interweave over time, the way his snaky melodies uncurl, and the simmering tension—often without much release.

Berne is never easy listening whatever the setting, but his incredibly rich and personal music rewards the effort. Over the course of the thirty or so releases he has stacked up in various configurations, he has accrued a body of nearly flawless work. His Hardcell trio, a cooperative venture with Craig Taborn (piano/keyboards) and Tom Rainey (drums), has put out three records over the past five years. (Hardcell is three quarters of Science Friction, with guitarist Marc Ducret, another group that benefits from David Torn's work behind the console.)

Feign is the first all-acoustic release by this trio, "recorded with surprising restraint," as the liners indicate, and it's as good a place as any to dip in. The quietest moments on the disc come on the third piece, "Brokelyn," which starts off with abstract brush and stick work by Rainey and leads into a slow, deliberate, nearly unison melody statement by Berne and Taborn. As time progresses, they untwist and shoot off into a parallel exploration punctuated by oddly timed snare rolls.

As the trio gathers momentum, dark clouds begin swirling overhead, Rainey starts booming, and Berne shoots lines into the air. Then about five minutes in, Taborn leans into an off-kilter swing and the pace picks up a couple of notches. We're back into a much more energetic group interaction marked by periods of exploration and an eventual return to a repeated theme, then out.

The rest of the pieces mostly occupy a tense, shifty mid-tempo zone. Berne's alto playing develops in a linear fashion, referring to motifs and devolving them piecewise in a sometimes methodical, other times drastic fashion—but the implied harmony, especially when Taborn takes a more aggressive stance, lends momentum and leads to interesting contrasts. Rainey's a quirky, versatile drummer who can serve up funky grooves (as on the grooving opener) but tends to prefer exploring color, accent, polyrhythm, and melody.

These guys have spent so much time working together that the idiosyncrasies and nuances of their shared explorations develop naturally and in an unforced manner, no matter how self-conscious their music may be at times. Feign is wonderful, beautiful stuff that rewards repeat play.

Visit Tim Berne on the web.


Track Listing: I Do It (For Brookti); Time Laugh; Brokelyn; Mechanicals Failure; My First Phone; BG...uh...OH; I Thought You Had It; Pan/Ex.

Personnel: Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Tom Rainey: drums; Craig Taborn: piano.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Screwgun Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Empty The Headbin" CD/LP/Track Review Empty The Headbin
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Untitled" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "San José Suite" CD/LP/Track Review San José Suite
by Nigel Campbell
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "In Tokyo, Japan" CD/LP/Track Review In Tokyo, Japan
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 16, 2016
Read "George DeLancey" CD/LP/Track Review George DeLancey
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Spaces
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: June 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!