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Tim Berne's Snakeoil
ECM Rugged Avant-Funk

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil

Sep 23
Joe Henderson Lab

Since Tim Berne first emerged on New York’s roiling Downtown scene in the late 1970s the alto saxophonist has created one galvanizing ensemble after another. In recent years his primary vehicle has been Snakeoil, introduced on an acclaimed self-named 2012 quartet session for ECM.

He followed with two more ECM releases, 2013’s live Shadow Man and 2015’s You’ve Been Watching Me, which added guitarist Ryan Ferreira to the mix. The group has honed a slippery, transparent sound that feels rigorously constructed and utterly stream of consciousness, powered and texturally enhanced by former Bay Area star Ches Smith on drums, vibes, and timpani. Snakeoil also features Oscar Noriega on clarinet and bass clarinet and Matt Mitchell on piano and electronics (who recently released a brilliant solo piano album of Berne’s compositions, Førage). Berne’s path has always been idiosyncratic, from his relatively late start on the sax at 20 to his self-styled apprenticeship with the brilliant gutbucket avant gardist Julius Hemphill. A restlessly inventive composer, he’s created an imposingly sui generis body of music exploring long, sinuous forms, the layering of labyrinthine vamps, disorder and carefully deliberated coalescence. For this appearance, the band performs material from their brand new ECM session, Incidentals.

Artist Website

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The group has honed a slippery, transparent sound that feels rigorously constructed and utterly stream of consciousness.

There’s a coolheaded but decisive tension between moment-to-moment details and the arc of a larger design in the recent music by the alto saxophonist Tim Berne. That conceptual push and pull has been a hallmark of his working band, Snakeoil, since its auspicious debut album several years ago.

The New York Times

There’s a coolheaded but decisive tension between moment-to-moment details and the arc of a larger design in the recent music by the alto saxophonist Tim Berne. That conceptual push and pull has been a hallmark of his working band, Snakeoil, since its auspicious debut album several years ago.

The New York Times

Personnel

Tim Berne alto saxophone
Oscar Noriega clarinet, bass clarinet
Matt Mitchell piano
Ches Smith drums, percussion

Back on a major label and at the helm of an excellent young working band dedicated to his vision, saxophonist Tim Berne has emerged from the underground yet again.

JazzTimes

Personnel

Tim Berne alto saxophone
Oscar Noriega clarinet, bass clarinet
Matt Mitchell piano
Ches Smith drums, percussion

Back on a major label and at the helm of an excellent young working band dedicated to his vision, saxophonist Tim Berne has emerged from the underground yet again.

JazzTimes

Watch & Listen

Tim Berne's Snakeoil

Lost in Redding

Tim Berne's Snakeoil

Angles

Tim Berne's Snakeoil

Lost in Redding

Tim Berne's Snakeoil

Angles