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Tim Berne’s Snakeoil: Incidentals (ECM)

“I’ve always liked the idea of steering people away from the material we start with,” Tim Berne says in the press notes for Incidentals, the latest album by the alto saxophonist’s daring, ever-developing group Snakeoil. It doesn’t take long for the music here to reflect that open strategy. Slowly emerging from pure silence, the opening … Read More “Tim Berne’s Snakeoil: Incidentals (ECM)”

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

Certain musical strategies can betray a Tim Berne composition. There’s the angular melody, played by the leader’s acidic alto, often in harmony with another horn, while the rhythm section tosses and turns beneath them. With the theme complete, two members of the band might engage in dual solos, with one of them eventually morphing from … Read More “Tim Berne’s Snakeoil: You’ve Been Watching Me”

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Bruno Chevillon/Tim Berne: Old and Unwise

Tim Berne’s prodigious discography is mostly stocked with collections of his monumentally scaled compositions, sprawling musical roadmaps for laborious treks through ever-changing landscapes. These two new releases, however, are both wholly improvised sessions, revealing that the scope of Berne’s thinking is hardly diminished by the absence of sheet music. Old and Unwise finds Berne keeping … Read More “Bruno Chevillon/Tim Berne: Old and Unwise”

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Live Review: Dave Douglas at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Dave Douglas has performed in enough of the 16 editions of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival that most old festival hands are stumped to name them all. The chronology of these performances parallels the arc of the trumpeter’s remarkable ascent. Tiny Bell Unit; initial encounters with Han Bennink; Charms of the Night Sky; his Quartet … Read More “Live Review: Dave Douglas at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival”

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