Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

117

Tim Berne / Jim Black / Nels Cline: The Veil

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded live at The Stone in New York City on a sweltering July evening in 2009, The Veil is the debut of BB&C (also known as The Sons of Champignon), an acronym for alto saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Jim Black and guitarist Nels Cline—veteran improvisers with a long history of collaboration. Cline first recorded with Berne in the early '80s, while Black was a member of Berne's revered '90s era Bloodcount quartet. Unfolding as a single uninterrupted long-form improvisation and encore, the date's indexing points and song-titles were created after the fact for convenience. Despite having no predetermined agenda or rehearsal, the set flows as seamlessly as if it were pre-composed—such is the intuitive accord of these three veterans.

The trio charges out of the gate with a visceral take-no-prisoners attitude on the appropriately titled "Railroaded," alternating spasmodic thickets of coruscating tone clusters, altissimo alto cries and a battery of muscular percussion with passages of testosterone-fueled furor closer to thrash metal than traditional jazz. Subsequent episodes trade caterwauling frenzy for aleatoric introspection, creating a spontaneous compositional arc that alternates lush volume pedal swells, hushed multiphonics and spectral electronics ("Momento") with interludes of monolithic power ("The Barbarella Syndrome").

Each of the members are band leaders in their own right; as such, Black serves as more than just the ensemble's rhythmic fulcrum—his stylistic percussion detours and laptop interjections provide subtle direction, focusing Berne and Cline's outré expressions into genre-specific territory, whether metal, funk or ambient. Black's dynamic modulations on "Rescue Her" demonstrate the drummer's stoic influence; his furiously shifting polyrhythms accelerate to a fevered pitch at the climax, inspiring a barrage of distorted power chords from Cline, whose kinetic fury amplifies Berne's keening motifs; the group congeals as one, ascending from deconstructed funk into cathartic bliss. Cline expertly applies an endless array of EFX in this volatile, ever-changing environment; waves of caustic feedback and surreal time-shifting delays amplify the concert's psychedelic ambience without overshadowing the dexterity of his blistering fretwork. Berne adopts a similar approach, interweaving multiphonic cries with rigorously repeated linear refrains that provide an amalgam of textural abstraction and hypnotic rhythmic support.

Throughout the album's 58 minute duration, Berne, Black and Cline evoke the raw beauty of urban modernism in an array of expressionistic paeans, from the acerbic salvos of the opener to the sublime rubato lyricism of the closing meditation "Tiny Moment." Employing a scintillating array of electric and acoustic tonalities, they compose an acid-etched portrait of distressed vistas seething with vitality, lifting the veil on man's enduring passion for technological reinvention in the face of inevitable entropy.

Visit Tim Berne, Jim Black and Nels Cline on the web.

Track Listing: Railroaded; Impairment Posse; Momento; The Barbarella Syndrome; The Dawn of the Lawn; Rescue Her; The Veil; Tiny Moment (part 1); Tiny Moment (part 2).

Personnel: Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Jim Black: drums, laptop; Nels Cline: guitar, effects.

Title: The Veil | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
General Articles
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
General Articles
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Incidentals

Incidentals

ECM Records
2017

buy
You’ve Been Watching Me

You’ve Been...

ECM Records
2015

buy
 

Hammered

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy
Shadow Man

Shadow Man

ECM Records
2013

buy
 

Small Places

JazzMa Records
2012

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019
Read Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog Album Reviews
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019