Sunday, December 27, 2020

Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell - Spiders (Out of Your Head Records, 2020)

Alto saxophonist Tim Berne and pianist Matt Mitchell combine for an excellent album of duets on this live recording that sees them pooling their resources and combining energies in a very impressive and memorable fashion. Both musicians are powerful players in their own right with strong technique and personality, but their is no issue of ego or boasting here, and the five selection program shows how compatible they can be. Mitchell plays in one of Berne's regular ensembles called Snakeoil, in addition to their duo performances, so both men are well attuned to each other, but still willing to let their inquisitive nature guide them through this program of all new Berne compositions recorded just before the lockdown closed live music venues in 2020. They delve deeply into the meaning and connections inherent in the individual compositions, using these properties to guide their interactions and improvisations. The music unfolds and reveals its secrets gradually, with careful precision and articulation allowing the selections to build upon one another while leaving room for interpretation and a logically unfolding narrative. The musicians develop gradually and engage one another, building raw and exciting conversations which coalesce in a riveting, yearning series of performances that use light and shade dramatically and the music flows organically in a suite like formation. Spiders -

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