Sunday, June 19, 2022

Tim Berne and Nasheet Waits - Tangled (Screwgun Records, 2022)

The cosmologic theory of quantum entanglement holds that when two particles are linked together in a certain way, they remain so regardless of distance. Alto saxophonist and composer Tim Berne and drummer Nasheet Waits take this idea to heart musically. No matter how exploratory their improvisations become, they are bound together musically in the goal of creating frontier expanding modern jazz. This album was recorded live in New York City in December of 2021 and features two lengthy performances, beginning with "Tangled," which builds to increasingly coarse saxophone playing with rapid drumming that has a slightly hollow and resonating sound, creating a memorable duet setting. A period of near silence develops with brushed percussion in open space building textures with a slight drum beat. Soft and subtle saxophone joins in, rearranging the music with a more emotional quality and Brene takes flight developing a louder and broader tone, then dynamically shifting to a sharp nasal tone that carves through the improvisation in a gritty and tough manner. Waits's machine tooled drumming is the perfect fit, creating a complex, yet engaging rhythm, and after a short solo break for saxophone, the two men return together engaging in a fast paced dialogue. They develop a flat out burst of energy, with a striking connection between the musicians providing the spark that pushes them through the finish line. "Tangled Too" moves in a different direction, developing gradually with Berne playing solo in a peaceful manner, and the drums easing in with a rolling hollow sound possibly made by mallets, and shivering sly cymbals. Their duo improvisation gradually grows in speed and volume, jumping to light speed with fast, harsh saxophone and immediate crisp drumming. There is a short drum feature where Waits makes use of his entire setup, his limbs in constant motion, later joined by Berne who has downshifted into producing a floating quality from his instrument, finding the perfect placement for notes within beats. This album worked very well, Berne and Waits were simpatico partners who were able to use spontaneously created music to open up a dedicated narrative flow that carried the process of improvisation and interplay to a very satisfying conclusion. Tangled -

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