Tim Berne, Insomnia

Kevin Whitehead

By Kevin Whitehead

on 12.21.11 in Reviews

Saxophonist Tim Berne writes some of the slinkiest lines around, lyrical and dissonant. They slowly unfurl before, between, over and under the lively solo and collective improvisations in his long suites, on the belatedly released stunner Insomnia. It’s a great example of his art, not least for the lush textures of the octet, with Berne on alto or baritone, Baikida Carroll on trumpet and Chris Speed on clarinet, a string trio (including the invincible Mike Formanek on bass), and drummer Jim Black at his most shady and subtle. The master stroke of orchestration was adding Marc Ducret’s acoustic 12-string guitar, given the varied ways he backs the rest, with feathery or splash chords, flinty percussives and charging runs.