Epistrophy Arts presents Tim Berne / Snakeoil

Epistrophy Arts kicks off its 14th year of presenting world-class, cutting-edge jazz in Austin with a rare appearance by iconic NYC saxophonist and composer Tim Berne and his new ensemble Snakeoil.  Snakeoil are touring in support of a new ECM records release out this week. This is the only Texas date for the group and seating is limited. Tickets available now! Please tell a friend.

 Tim Berne head shot, bushy grey hair, dark jacket

band page on ECM: http://player.ecmrecords.com/tim-berne-snakeoil/artist

Tim Berne / Snakeoil

Tim Berne, saxophones, composer
Oscar Noriega, woodwinds
Matt Mitchell, piano, keyboards
Ches Smith, drums, percussion

Friday, 2/24  8PM
Cactus Cafe on the campus of UT Austin
In the Texas Union (23rd & Guadalupe)
2247 Guadalupe St. (map) (512) 475-6515

tickets $20 available online at Cactus Cafe

“Based on the recorded evidence, it may very well have been Tim Berne who was the definitive genius of NYC’s downtown 1980s jazz scene,” Time Out

“…one of the most discursive saxophonists since John Coltrane.” – Jazz Journalist’s Association

Snakeoil, Tim Berne’s new touring band, is a potent blend of new voices and new ideas. Oscar Noriega (woodwinds), Matt Mitchell (keyboards) and Ches Smith (percussion) bring fresh sounds and vibrant energy. Berne responds with a stunning book of new pieces balancing compositional rigor with fluid group improvisation. Hypnotic rhythms and long, seductive melodies collide with jagged dissonances and surprising textural shifts. A lush, organic blend of saxophones and clarinets is layered with electronic and acoustic keyboards and an ever-changing tapestry of percussion. Freedom and discipline, consonance and discord, past, present and future- all work together to power this new band from Tim Berne.

This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division.

band page on ECM: http://player.ecmrecords.com/tim-berne-snakeoil/artist
reviews http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/feb/02/tim-berne-snakeoil-review?CMP=twt_gu
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/arts/music/a-new-album-from-paul-mccartney.html?_r=1 (below McCartney)


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Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Tim Berne was something of a late bloomer, not taking to the saxophone until his college years. Even still, it wasn’t until he heard avant-garde luminary Julius Hemphill that Berne became firmly convinced of the power in the music. He has since perfected his composer / bandleader skills, collaborated with a laundry-list of greats and been recognized by Time Out New York as an “Essential NYC Jazz Icon”.
Berne was born and raised in upstate New York, where he invested most of his time and energy into sports. He had always enjoyed music (especially Motown and Stax-era soul artists like Gladys Knight, Johnny Taylor and Sam and Dave) but never considered himself an active participant until, on a whim, he purchased an alto saxophone while attending college in Oregon. Before long, he taught himself to play, fell in love with jazz, and relocated to Manhattan to apprentice with Julius Hemphill.
Hemphill proved to be an ideal mentor and imparted Berne with lessons not only on technique and composition, but also on the business side of music, including promotion and recording studio dynamics. All the while, he emphasized the importance of maintaining a spiritual vision and writing one’s own music. As Berne recalls, “it never occurred to me that most people don’t play their own music or aren’t bandleaders.  I thought that was just part of it.” And so, from the start, the burgeoning saxophonist was uniquely qualified to do things his way.
Beginning in 1979, he was producing records on his very own Empire label and recruiting collaborators like Olu Dara, Paul Motian and Bill Frisell. After a pair of well-received records on Italy’s Soul Note Records, Columbia signed him and helped to promote a series of worldwide tours. Berne was gaining international acclaim by the day, but still had plenty to learn, especially in terms of teamwork and group dynamics. In retrospect, he considers much of this early material “fanatically arranged”, and through subsequent projects with the likes of Craig Taborn, Ethan Iverson, David King, Nels Cline and Jim Black, Berne has cultivated ensembles with “the necessary looseness” of a genuine group identity.
This quartet is the culmination of that realization. Clarinetist Oscar Noriega shares the frontline, as well as a knack for spontaneous composition. Pianist Matt Mitchell is, in Berne’s estimation, a “master at managing the transitions, balancing the structural elements and the free elements and cueing the events in the scores.” Percussionist Ches Smith expanded his kit to include tympani, congas and gongs, all of which alternately propel and suspend the band’s intense, long-form improvisations. Snakeoil makes this Kuumbwa appearance hot on the heels of a brand new eponymous ECM release. Two years of wood-shedding preceded the recording of Snakeoil at New York’s Avatar Studios early in 2011. The album highlights Berne’s compositional style – original and avant-garde, yet perhaps more accessible on this outing.
Instant Composers Pool (ICP) Orchestra, Austin Texas, 4/7/2011.  www.epistrophyarts.org

Instant Composers Pool (ICP) Orchestra, Austin Texas, 4/7/2011.  www.epistrophyarts.org

Free Fall in concert in Austin, Texas.  March 12, 8PM. advance tickets available at Waterloo Records and End of An Ear.

Free Fall in concert in Austin, Texas.  March 12, 8PM. advance tickets available at Waterloo Records and End of An Ear.