Monday, February 20, 2012

Tim Berne - Snakeoil (ECM, 2012)

The musical categorization on this album goes beyond jazz to include new music and contemporary classical. Alto saxophonist Tim Berne is joined by Oscar Noriega on clarinet and bass clarinet, Matt Mitchell on piano and Ches Smith on drums and percussion. The musicians play with a great deal of patience, allowing for musical development and a close relationship between the players. Unusual textures, unlike a lot of Tim Berne's other music, focuses the music on composition, developing a lot of open space and allowing things to flow free and unfettered. The music is non-confrontational, building slowly from open ended beginnings to more complex and stronger improvisational areas. Continuing to interpret and reinterpret the compositions with interesting tones like the one achieved by saxophone and clarinet melding together with an almost painterly aspect. The music moves beyond label, with the process of creating including a great deal of feeling. By challenging the listeners and revealing their secrets slowly, the musicians develop a mysterious sound that is haunting and beguiling and develops organically, beginning with the seed of an idea and developing a performance that continues to grow and evolve. There is a great deal of honed and coiled energy that is sometimes resolved and even more interesting when it isn't, allowing the music to hang suspended in space and time as the peaks and valleys of improvisation swirl on. Puling away from the idea of jazz in its established sense, the music is played with great refinement and patience, and the players are deeply committed to this unforgiving music. Snakeoil -

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