All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
General Articles
CD/LP/Track Review
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

Related Articles

Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Plays Dutch Originals" CD/LP/Track Review Plays Dutch Originals
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Fragments" CD/LP/Track Review Fragments
by John Sharpe
Published: May 7, 2018
Read "Light in the Ring: The Ali Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Light in the Ring: The Ali Suite
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: June 7, 2018
Read "Manna for Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Manna for Thought
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "Ethio Jazz Volume One" CD/LP/Track Review Ethio Jazz Volume One
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 9, 2018
Read "Äventyret" CD/LP/Track Review Äventyret
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 5, 2017