Thursday, March 1, 8PM
Tim Berne’s Snakeoil
Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park
1400 E Prospect St, Seattle
Tickets available at www.brownpapertickets.com and 1-800-838-3006.
Tickets are $18 in advance; $20 at the door
Earshot Jazz members and seniors receive $2 discount; students pay half price
Photo of Tim Berne's Snakeoil by John Rogers.
Saxophonist Tim Berne introduces his new Snakeoil group – Oscar Noriega, clarinet and bass clarinet; Matt Mitchell, piano; Ches Smith, drums – in a program of new music from his first studio album in eight years, and first release on ECM.
Berne’s musical constructions for this quartet come about in equal parts sonic structure and attitude. “I was looking for strong personalities who are not afraid to express their musical opinions,” Berne says. With three skilled improvisers in this dynamic presentation, Berne’s found musicians as concerned as he is at shaping the music, he says.
He started in that trust on the project with pianist Matt Mitchell, a “master at managing the transitions, balancing the structural elements and the free elements and cueing events in the scores,” Berne says. Berne then invited Oscar Noriega on the project, after a positive rehearsal of some of saxophonist Julius Hemphill’s music that the World Saxophone Quartet founder, and Berne mentor, had written for a Lester Bowie gig.
Enter drummer Ches Smith, a West-to-East transplant, with diverse experiences in improvisation, punk and metal backgrounds, who’s brought unique and fresh energy to Brooklyn and downtown New York music communities. Smith has a charisma on the drums and a certain timing of explosiveness and expression. Collaborators have found in him a true musicality and an inexhaustible focus on the music in front of him. “I liked Ches’ whole vibe,” Berne says.
Photo of Tim Berne by Robert Lewis
Berne brought Snakeoil to producer Manfred Eicher, who contributed a lot to the overall development of the work, Berne says. That’s a bit of a departure for Berne, who since 1996 has primarily released his work on his own label, Screwgun Records. Stepping away from his more controlling tendency on previous works, Berne’s opened it up to the musicians and to producer Eicher. “I had a strong wish to work with a producer, to have some feedback in the working process. I wanted a collaboration,” Berne says. “I like to give more responsibility to the players and involve them more in the shaping of the music.”
Berne was in the Seattle area twice last year – once for some great work with University of Washington students in the early spring and again for the Bellevue Jazz Festival with Michael Formanek’s group from The Rub and Spare Change. This Snakeoil presentation is your opportunity to witness the continuing evolution of one of jazz’s most markedly independent voices, now with an ECM release.