Tim Berne

Jazz Sides

Phases & Stages

Tim Berne

Snakeoil (ECM)

As dramatic as the weather, bright and diffuse one moment, then blustery – even sinister – the next, Tim Berne's debut as bandleader on jazz and classical vanguard ECM frames a quartet blurring all lines of tonal and structural grounding with avian musical ascension. Produced in New York last January by label head Manfred Eichner, the alto saxophonist's reptilian coils of brass all but sprout wings on Snakeoil's six songs in 68 minutes, and the piano, drums, and clarinet/bass clarinet team with a Darwinian tension. "Simple City" finds Berne and pianist Matt Mitchell climbing as one instrument until Oscar Noriega's stilling bass clarinet subverts the piano for a duet somewhere between a Tchaikovsky ballet and Gershwin. On "Scanners," clustering, head-on engagement from the quartet rises and falls, reeds paralleling then crosscut by the percussive half of this foursome. Berne's birdlike solo early in the 14-minute sweep and swing of "Spare Parts" into "Yield" speaks to his playful incisiveness. (Tim Berne's quartet lays in at the Cactus Cafe, Friday, Feb. 24.)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Top 10 Box Sets of 2018
The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles
The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Dec. 7, 2018

Texas Platters
Jeffrey Zeigler/Golden Hornet
The Sound of Science (Record Review)

Jeremy Steinberger, Nov. 30, 2018

More by Raoul Hernandez
Gary Clark Jr. Packs Antone’s for Spotify Exclusive Event
Gary Clark Jr. Packs Antone’s for Spotify Exclusive Event
Homegrown bluesman debuts This Land

Feb. 12, 2019

Austin Terror Fest Drops the Big One
Austin Terror Fest Drops the Big One
Third year comer triples down at Empire & Barracuda June 7-9

Jan. 23, 2019


Tim Berne

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle