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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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Tim Berne’s Snakeoil: Shadow Man

This band’s eponymous ECM debut last year was one of the most acclaimed jazz recordings of 2012. Shadow Man is stronger. It is wilder and deeper, an oceanic extravagance of strange sonic shapes and colors. Yet it coheres according to proprietary logic. The individual voices in Snakeoil are compelling. Oscar Noriega (clarinets) is free fluidity … Read More “Tim Berne’s Snakeoil: Shadow Man”

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