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Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell: One More Please

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Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell: One More Please
If the word accessible is even a thing in the vast musical vernacular of alto saxophonist Tim Berne and the ever willing collaborator pianist Matt Mitchell, they take full advantage of it on One More Please, their fourth duo date.

Berne's music, more akin to an alien abduction than tangible through-lines, has its Gordian knots and philosophical upheavals, but Mitchell, as he has proven since his decade in Berne's slipped-disc ensemble Snakeoil, and on such well received outings as the duo's 2017 release Angel Dusk (Screwgun)>, 2020's Spiders (Out of Your Heads), and his own solo manifestations of Berne's boho brilliance on 2017's Forage (Screwgun), discovers and reveals the innate song logic the composer himself may overlook or, as may often be the case, abandons.

Amid Berne's squalls of beauty and dissonance, his yowls of pain, pleasure and streetwise esoterica, Mitchell wrests, if not necessarily the verse and chorus, then the melody, orchestral setting and intrinsic story Berne sets out to tell. Exhibit A would be the opening recitative, "Purdy," a crystalline personification of Mitchell's innate sense of Berne's numerous convolutions. Introspective, Mitchell rounds off the saxophonist's free-bop intentions, intoning an intimacy that permeates the entire affair.

Recorded live in October 2021 at Club Soda, one of New York City's momentary hipster havens, Julius Hemphill's argumentative "Number 2" finds the virtuosos dueling and dealing, introducing motifs Hemphill (maybe) only hinted at. "Rose Colored Missive" spiked by Berne's extended, searching, over-arching declarations, then accedes generously to Mitchell, who tells the tale with a lush longing all his own.

Though a surprising (but not totally unexpected) free-jazz freneticism empowers "Oddly Enough: Squidz" the duo then delve into the discernible gospel blues of "Middle Seat Blues: Chicken Salad Blues," with Mitchell intent on not letting Berne take the song away into whatever outer reaches might strike his fancy at the moment. "Rolled Oats: Curls" finds each searching their interior worlds, at first restlessly, then peacefully to conclusion, leaving a sense of awe and bedeviled curiosity, as the Berne/Mitchell combination perennially does.

Track Listing

Purdy; Number2; Rose Colored Missive; Oddly Enough / Squidz; Middle Seat Blues / Chicken Salad Blues; Motian Success; Rolled Oats / Curls.

Personnel

Tim Berne: saxophone, alto; Matt Mitchell: piano.

Album information

Title: One More Please | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Intakt Records

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