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April 2015

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Venue:
The Barnes Foundation2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $15 General Admission
Friday, April 24, 2015 - 8:00pm

Tim Berne's Snakeoil

Jazz Appreciation Month

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

Ars Nova Workshop is thrilled to welcome back Tim Berne’s Snakeoil.

“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 New York opined. “In the intervening years, he has remained committed to exploring the small group jazz idiom with a series of gritty, head-turning bands that have helped propel younger players such as Jim Black, Craig Taborn and Ches Smith into alt-jazz stardom.”

Snakeoil introduces a fascinating ensemble, a “chamber-like group” in Berne’s words, albeit one that packs some power. Tim’s tough alto is heard with Oscar Noriega’s earthy clarinets, Matt Mitchell’s cryptic piano, and Ches Smith’s tone-conscious drums, tympani, gongs and congas. Berne: “I'd decided on this very transparent instrumentation to try and avoid obvious stylistic references and to focus the listener on the musical ideas being presented.”

Snakeoil’s third ECM album, You’ve Been Watching Me (2015), sees the saxophonist-composer, Tim Berne again leading his ultra-dynamic band, but with the quartet now a quintet with the arrival of guitarist Ryan Ferreira, whose sound adds textural allure. The group’s 2013 release, Shadow Man, garnered Berne some of the highest praise of his career as a composer and bandleader, with JazzTimes marveling over how his work grows “wilder and deeper.” The four-star DownBeat review said: “This music rocks and thinks, explores, deconstructs and, yes, it swings, in its own identifiably angular, Berne-ian way.”

Tim Berne, a student of Julius Hemphill, has lead some of the greatest improvising groups of the past 20 years, including Bloodcount, Big Satan and Science Friction.  Among his past collaborators are Ethan Iverson, Nels Cline, Craig Taborn, Marc Ducret, and many others. Pianist Matt Mitchell works with the other members of the ensemble in several other arrangements, as well as with artists like John Hollenbeck, Darius Jones, and Rudresh Mahanthappa/Bunky Green. Ches Smith has worked with a wide-ranging list of musicians, from rock bands like Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu, and Secret Chiefs 3 to jazz greats like Wadada Leo Smith, Marc Ribot and John Tchicai. Oscar Noriega has previously worked with Lee Konitz, Anthony Braxton and Dewey Redman, among others.