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Tim Berne: Incidentals

Mike Jurkovic By

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Through three previous releases on ECM, (including the widely hailed 2015 release You've Been Watching Me alto saxophonist Tim Berne's sonic amalgamation Snakeoil has proven itself an often knotty and dissonant band of free creators, making them the perfect vehicle for Berne's often knotty and dissonant musical ideas.

But it's mind boggling on many levels how these guys—clarinetist Oscar Noriega, relative newcomer guitarist Ryan Ferreira, pianist and electronicist Matt Mitchell, drummer/percussionist Ches Smith, and producer/guitarist David Torn—sustain the creative, panoramic cacophony for as long as Berne's imagination demands. "Hora Feliz" incites the tides, slowly moving from Torn's shadowy guitar to a primal group improv at once so off-kilter yet focused it dazzles. Speaking of dazzles, the sweeping, twenty six minute study of creation, chaos, destruction, and redemption "Sideshow" thunders ominously and obsessively with Mitchell and Smith leading the mad charge then, like survivors seeking solace, the work slows, melodies and textures wandering the landscape, shape shifting to triumphant dance. On the following "Incidentals Contact" Smith again sets the tone, this time on vibraphone, seemingly impervious to the insistent push and pull of his band-mates, yet adhering to Berne's creative philosophy that the more room you allow any player, the greater the whole plays together. It's a bold. challenging concept indeed, but it has served Berne and his cohorts well.

Track Listing: Hora Feliz; Stingray Shuffle; Sideshow; Incidentals Contact; Prelude One/Sequel Too.

Personnel: Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Oscar Noriega: clarinet, bass clarinet; Ryan Ferreira: guitars; Matt Mitchell: piano, electronics; Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, timpani, percussion; David Torn: guitar (1, 3).

Title: Incidentals | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ECM Records


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