Tim Berne — Science Friction
(Screwgun SCREWU 013, 2002, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2005-09-01The current direction of modern saxophone icon Tim Berne began in 2002 with this eight piece CD featuring his world class multi-talented quartet. Studio versions of “Huevos,” and “Manatee Woman” (both highlights of the live Thirsty Ear recording from 2003) indicate that the initial quartet’s stance of improvisation is fire-starting but perhaps not quite as intuitive. Short tracks such as “Mikromas” and “The Mallomar Maneuvre” offer much needed relief to the complex dialogue between the performers that requires serious heavy listening. Berne’s playing is central to the success of the disc as he is on top of careful key changes and adept with brash punctuation at key points. Keyboardist Craig Taborn is simply a joy to listen to across the disc on electric piano. His adept accompaniment works in tandem with guitarist Marc Ducret as both players weave in and out of the complex sound map. Ducret himself is especially volatile on the opening cut and acclaimed drummer Tom Rainey shows how he anchors the group’s tempo and embellishes diverging melodic lines. The most effective piece is perhaps “Sigh Fry,” which begins from a pastoral ambiguous mood and evolves into an unsettling base for Ducret’s histrionics. David Torn applies his Spattercell alter ego for production work that pushes the collective results into another realm. There is no doubt that these performers were on to something special that is so much greater than the sum of their individual parts.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more