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Jazz Articles

LIVE REVIEWS

Brilliant Corners 2016

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Brilliant Corners 2016 Various venues jny:Belfast, N. Ireland March 5-12, 2016 Another Brilliant Corners, a few more brilliant corners. Belfast's fledgling international jazz festival may only be in its fourth year but already it feels like an established part of the city's vibrant cultural landscape, a date in the calendar to look forward to, rather than an event that takes people by surprise. The original three-day festival has grown steadily ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: You’ve Been Watching Me

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In the course of his long and prolific career, alto saxophonist/composer Tim Berne has been more of a musical agitator than a mediator. While that's a positive characteristic of Berne's creative process, it is also a demanding one for all concerned. Berne's tenure with ECM, however, has been marked by a more pronounced move toward balancing restorative musical properties to juxtapose very complex structures. The result of Berne's continued growth is You've Been Watching Me, a high point of his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: You've Been Watching Me

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The music of saxophonist Tim Berne has invariably raised the question: where have you been? His early self-released sessions (collected in the Empire Box (Screwgun, 1999)) from the late-1970s and early 80s gave no quarter to the neo-conservative jazz movement. Signed by Columbia Records (what were they thinking?) he forged ahead with his incendiary vision, only to be dropped by the label. With no desire to be “discovered" only after he had died, he created the quartet, sometimes quintet, Bloodcount, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Shadow Man

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Alto saxophonist Tim Berne's Snakeoil is a group that bonds asymmetrical contours into the big picture, where many progressive jazz aficionados often expect the unexpected from this artist who radiates an antithesis to conventional norms. More of the gradual ascensions, tricky time signatures, fractured flows and odd-metered unison choruses come into play on Shadow Man. Berne's neural vibrato lines in tandem with his foil, clarinetist Oscar Noriega ride above complex rhythmic patterns, designed with changeable metrics and alternating discourses. Hence, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Shadow Man

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New York-based alto saxophonist Tim Berne has long been regarded one of the Downtown scene's most forward-thinking bandleaders. Among his peers, no other artist has so often fostered the creative talent of subsequent generations; multi-instrumentalist Chris Speed, keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Jim Black all spent their formative years playing alongside the veteran saxophonist. Likewise, Berne recently recruited rising multi-instrumentalist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Ches Smith as members of his latest project, Snakeoil.Shadow Man is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Shadow Man

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When Tim Berne released his ECM debut, Snakeoil in 2012, it quickly garnered some of the best reviews of the saxophonist/composer's career, ending up on a number of year-end best of lists. And why not? With a group already together for a couple years (as Los Totopos), Snakeoil represented a major step forward for Berne, both compositionally and in terms of band concept. All-acoustic, Snakeoil also benefited from label head/producer Manfred Eicher's attention to detail and transparency. Snakeoil, in addition ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne: Snakeoil

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Tim Berne's previous contributions on the ECM label--guitarist David Torn's Prezens (ECM, 2005) and bassist Michael Formanek's The Rub and Spare Change (ECM, 2009)--represent some of his best work as a sideman. The alto saxophonist's first ECM release as a leader, Snakeoil, not only represents Berne at his best, but also at his most accessible. Berne's quartet consists of outstanding players from the New York jazz scene, all of whom are attuned to Berne's complex free improvisational style of composing. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Tim Berne: Snakeoil

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Tim Berne Snakeoil ECM Records 2012 When artists who've already built lengthy careers elsewhere over a period of years (sometimes decades) come to record for Germany's ECM Records, there is occasional trepidation amongst some of their longstanding fans. This is, after all, not just about facilitating the release of recordings; this is a label with a vision, a very personal aesthetic. With over 1,100 titles released across more than four decades, and an expansive ...


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