American saxophonist Tim Berne and French double-bassist Bruno Chevillon in the studio after 3 live gigs in Portugal, improvising freely while exploring sound and spinning tales in the moment.
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Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF221
Squidco Product Code: 14480
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at Namouche Studio, Lisbon on June 6th, 2010 by Joaquim Monte.
Tim Berne-alto saxophone
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• Show Bio for Tim Berne
"Tim Berne (born 1954) is an American jazz saxophonist and composer.
Described by critic Thom Jurek as commanding "considerable power as a composer and ... frighteningly deft ability as a soloist", Berne has composed and performed prolifically since the 1980s. His mainstream success has been limited Ð Berne recorded two albums for Columbia Records Ð but he has released a significant body of work over the decades spanning dozens of critically acclaimed recordings.
Though Berne was a music fan, he had no interest in playing a musical instrument until he was in college, when he purchased an alto saxophone. He was more interested in rhythm and blues music Ð Stax records releases and Aretha Franklin, especially Ð until he heard Julius Hemphill's 1972 recording Dogon A.D.
Hemphill was known for his integration of soul music and funk with free jazz. Berne moved to New York City in 1974. There Berne took lessons from Hemphill, and later recorded with him.
In 1979, Berne founded Empire Records to release his own recordings. He recorded Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for Columbia Records, which generated some discussion and controversy, due in part to the fact that Berne's music had little in common with the neo-tradionalist hard bop performers prominent in the mid-1980s. Some regarded Berne's music as uncommercial. In the late 1990s Berne founded Screwgun Records, which has released his own recordings, as well as others' music.
Beyond his recordings as a bandleader, Berne has recorded and/or performed with guitarist Bill Frisell, avant-garde composer/sax player John Zorn, violinist Mat Maneri, guitarist David Torn, cellist Hank Roberts, trumpet player Herb Robertson, the ARTE Quartett and as a member of the cooperative trio Miniature.
Recent years have found Berne performing in several different groups with drummers Tom Rainey and Gerald Cleaver, keyboardist Craig Taborn, bassists Michael Formanek and Drew Gress, guitarists Marc Ducret and David Torn, and reeds player Chris Speed.
He is one-third of the group BBC (Berne/Black/Cline) along with drummer Jim Black and Nels Cline of Wilco. The group released a critically acclaimed album called The Veil in 2011.
Berne's complex, multi-section compositions are often quite lengthy; twenty- to thirty-minute pieces are not unusual. One critic wrote that Berne's long songs "don't grow tiresome. The musicians are brilliantly creative and experienced enough not to get lost in all the room provided by these large time frames." "-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berne)
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1. crossed minds 2:14
2. high/low 3:30
3. l'etat d'incertitude 3:17
4. Au centre du corps 8:44
5. Quelque chose vacille 4:11
6. back up the truck 3:59
7. chance taken 5:45
8. crooked 5:53
9. cornered 8:28
10. Dissimulable 8:40
11. single entendre 6:04
sample the album:
"It's one of the ironies of life that the more you learn during your time on this planet, the more you realize how little you really know. Perhaps that is the ultimate wisdom... Old & Unwise is two veterans of improvised music - American saxophonist Tim Berne and French double-bassist Bruno Chevillon - facing the known and the unknowns, tête-à-tête; it's a record of one afternoon in the studio, in Portugal - the pair improvising freely and totally, exploring sound, spinning tales in the moment.
There was nothing, then there was music, for keeps. One minute that music can seem as if the listener stumbled through the Amazon jungle to find two shamans keening in some ritual, charming snakes, casting a spell; other tracks can sound like off-kilter seductions, as if they were noir love songs from the back alley of another world. There are melodies from the bass, rhythms from the alto sax, and vice-versa; there is humor, there is beauty - it rumbles, it sings, it's intoxicating.
Such duets demand rare intimacy, the one-on-one communication forcing each player to open up, unable to rely on group interplay. The format has always appealed to Berne, with his past duo encounters including discs with guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Marilyn Crispell, cellist Hank Roberts and bassist Michael Formanek. Previously, Berne and Chevillon developed chemistry together in bands led by guitarist Marc Ducret and violinist Dominique Pifarély, although the two originally met long before - in 1983, in Avignon, when Chevillon was a photographer and Berne was on his first tour of Europe.
"I love Bruno's playing - it's this great combination of the organic and the virtuosic. His arco playing is insanely good. A lot of people know him from playing with Louis Sclavis for so long, but Bruno was actually a late-starter, another thing we have in common."
Chevillon and Berne went into the studio in Lisbon after three live gigs, improvising every note on the spot in the most fluid manner, as the saxophonist recalls: "We went in at 2:30, and by 5:00, I was out body-surfing." The musical result is marked by distilled concision. Berne explains: "An audience makes things more visceral, the feedback stoking your ego, getting the adrenaline going. But the studio vibe with Bruno was concentrated. We would hit on a central idea, milk it and then out, no circling around."
The end product was mastered by technical whiz David Torn and packaged with artwork by Steve Byram, two longtime Berne confreres. But the music is presented exactly as it happened on the day, in order with no edits. "We set up in a big, high-ceilinged room, natural with no headphones, and we just played," Berne says. "It's very old-school. In a good way."-Bradley Bambarger, Clean Feed
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related