Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Tim Berne

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Genres  Avant-garde jazz
Role  Composer
Name  Tim Berne

Years active  1979-present
Instruments  Saxophone
Education  Lewis & Clark College
Tim Berne wwwscrewgunrecordscomimagestimjpg

Born  October 16, 1954 (age 61) (1954-10-16)
Associated acts  BB&C, Big Satan, Bloodcount, Miniature, Paraphrase
Record labels  ECM Records, Clean Feed Records
Albums  Snakeoil, Science Friction, Prezens, Tim Berne's Fractured, Theoretically

Tim berne 1990

Tim Berne (born 1954) is an American jazz saxophonist and composer.


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Described by critic Thom Jurek as commanding "considerable power as a composer and ... frighteningly deft ability as a soloist", Berne has composed and performed prolifically since the 1980s. His mainstream success has been limited – Berne recorded two albums for Columbia Records – but he has released a significant body of work over the decades spanning dozens of critically acclaimed recordings.

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Though Berne was a music fan, he had no interest in playing a musical instrument until he was in college, when he purchased an alto saxophone. He was more interested in rhythm and blues music – Stax records releases and Aretha Franklin, especially – until he heard Julius Hemphill's 1972 recording Dogon A.D.

Hemphill was known for his integration of soul music and funk with free jazz. Berne moved to New York City in 1974. There Berne took lessons from Hemphill, and later recorded with him.

In 1979, Berne founded Empire Records to release his own recordings. He recorded Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for Columbia Records, which generated some discussion and controversy, due in part to the fact that Berne's music had little in common with the neo-tradionalist hard bop performers prominent in the mid-1980s. Some regarded Berne's music as uncommercial. In the late 1990s Berne founded Screwgun Records, which has released his own recordings, as well as others' music.

Beyond his recordings as a bandleader, Berne has recorded and/or performed with guitarist Bill Frisell, avant-garde composer/sax player John Zorn, violinist Mat Maneri, guitarist David Torn, cellist Hank Roberts, trumpet player Herb Robertson, the ARTE Quartett and as a member of the cooperative trio Miniature.

Recent years have found Berne performing in several different groups with drummers Tom Rainey and Gerald Cleaver, keyboardist Craig Taborn, bassists Michael Formanek and Drew Gress, guitarists Marc Ducret and David Torn, and reeds player Chris Speed.

He is one-third of the group BBC (Berne/Black/Cline) along with drummer Jim Black and Nels Cline of Wilco. The group released a critically acclaimed album called The Veil in 2011.

Berne's complex, multi-section compositions are often quite lengthy; twenty- to thirty-minute pieces are not unusual. One critic wrote that Berne's long songs "don't grow tiresome. The musicians are brilliantly creative and experienced enough not to get lost in all the room provided by these large time frames."


  • Bloodcount (w/ Michael Formanek, Chris Speed, Jim Black, Marc Ducret)
  • Caos Totale (w/ Mark Dresser, Steve Swell, Bobby Previte, Herb Robertson, Marc Ducret, Django Bates)
  • Big Satan (w /Tom Rainey, Marc Ducret)
  • Hard Cell (w/ Tom Rainey, Craig Taborn)
  • Science Friction (w/ Tom Rainey, Craig Taborn, Marc Ducret)
  • Paraphrase (w/ Tom Rainey, Drew Gress)
  • Miniature (w/ Joey Baron, Hank Roberts)
  • Buffalo Collision (w/ Hank Roberts, Ethan Iverson, Dave King)
  • BBC Trio (w/ Nels Cline, Jim Black)
  • Snakeoil (w/ Oscar Noriega, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith)
  • As leader/co-leader

  • 1979 The Five Year Plan (Empire)
  • 1980 7X (Empire)
  • 1981 Spectres (Empire)
  • 1982 Songs and Rituals in Real Time (Empire)
  • 1983 The Ancestors (Soul Note)
  • 1983 Mutant Variations (Soul Note)
  • 1983 Theoretically (Empire) with Bill Frisell
  • 1986 Fulton Street Maul (CBS)
  • 1988 Sanctified Dreams (Columbia)
  • 1988 Miniature(JMT) as Miniature with Hank Roberts and Joey Baron
  • 1989 Tim Berne's Fractured Fairy Tales (JMT)
  • 1990 Pace Yourself (JMT) with Caos Totale
  • 1991 I Can't Put My Finger on It (JMT) as Miniature with Hank Roberts and Joey Baron
  • 1992 Diminutive Mysteries (Mostly Hemphill) (JMT)
  • 1993 Nice View (JMT) with Caos Totale
  • 1994 Lowlife: The Paris Concert (JMT) with Bloodcount
  • 1994 Poisoned Minds: The Paris Concert (JMT) with Bloodcount
  • 1995 Memory Select: The Paris Concert (JMT) with Bloodcount
  • 1995 Inference (Music & Arts) with Marilyn Crispell
  • 1997 Unwound (Screwgun) with Bloodcount
  • 1997 Big Satan (Winter & Winter) with Marc Ducret and Tom Rainey
  • 1997 Visitation Rites (Screwgun) with Paraphrase
  • 1997 Discretion (Screwgun) with Bloodcount
  • 1997 Saturation Point (Screwgun) with Bloodcount
  • 1998 Ornery People (Little Brother) with Michael Formanek
  • 1998 Cause & Reflect (Level Green) with Hank Roberts
  • 1999 Please Advise (Screwgun) with Paraphrase
  • 1999 Melquiades (Splasc(H)) with Enten Eller
  • 1999 Ellessi (Splasc(H)) with Umberto Petrin
  • 2000 Mosaiques (Yolk) with Jazzophone Compagnie
  • 2001 Auto da Fe (Splasc(H)) with Enten Eller
  • 2001 The Shell Game (Thirsty Ear) with Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey
  • 2001 Open, Coma (Screwgun) with Herb Robertson, Marc Ducret and the Copenhagen Art Ensemble
  • 2002 Science Friction (Screwgun)
  • 2002 The Sevens (New World)
  • 2003 The Sublime And (Thirsty Ear) with Science Friction
  • 2004 Souls Saved Hear (Thirsty Ear) with Big Satan
  • 2004 Electric and Acoustic Hard Cell Live (Screwgun)
  • 2005 Feign (Screwgun) with Hard Cell
  • 2005 Pre-Emptive Denial (Screwgun) with Paraphrase
  • 2006 Livein Cognito (Screwgun) with Big Satan
  • 2007 Seconds (Screwgun) with Bloodcount
  • 2008 Duck (Screwgun) as Buffalo Collision with Ethan Iverson, Hank Roberts and Dave King
  • 2011 Insomnia (Clean Feed)
  • 2011 Old and Unwise (Clean Feed) with Bruno Chevillon
  • 2011 The Veil (Cryptogramophone) as BB&C with Jim Black & Nels Cline
  • 2011 Intollerant (Auand) with Mr. Rencore
  • 2012 Snakeoil (ECM)
  • 2013 Shadow Man (ECM) with Snakeoil
  • 2015 You've Been Watching Me (ECM) with Snakeoil
  • 2015 Spare (Screwgun) with Snakeoil
  • 2017 Incidentals (ECM) with Snakeoil
  • As sideman

    With Ray Anderson

  • Big Band Record (Gramavision, 1994)
  • With Nels Cline

  • Angelica (Enja, 1988)
  • With Marc Ducret

  • Tower Vol. 2 (Ayler, 2011)
  • Tower Bridge (Ayler, 2014)
  • With Simon Fell

  • Positions & Descriptions (Clean Feed, 2011)
  • With Figure 8

  • Pipe Dreams (Black Saint, 1994)
  • With Michael Formanek

  • Extended Animation (Enja, 1992)
  • Loose Cannon (Soul Note, 1993) with Jeff Hirshfield
  • Low Profile (Enja, 1994)
  • Nature of the Beast (Enja, 1997)
  • The Rub and Spare Change (ECM, 2010)
  • Small Places (ECM, 2012)
  • The Distance (ECM, 2016)
  • With Vinny Golia

  • Compositions for Large Ensemble (Nine Winds, 1984)
  • Facts of Their Own Lives (Nine Winds, 1986)
  • With Drew Gress

  • Spin & Drift (Premonition, 2001)
  • 7 Black Butterflies (Premonition, 2005)
  • The Irrational Numbers (Premonition, 2007)
  • The Sky Inside (Pirouet, 2013)
  • With Mark Helias

  • Split Image (Enja, 1985)
  • The Current Set (Enja, 1986)
  • With Julius Hemphill

  • Five Chord Stud (Black Saint, 1994)
  • One Atmosphere (Tzadik, 2003)
  • With Peter Herborn

  • Something Personal (JMT, 1993)
  • With Lindsey Horner

  • Never No More (Open Minds, 1991)
  • With Hilmar Jensson

  • Dofinn (Jazzis, 1995)
  • With Ingrid Laubrock

  • Ubatuba (Firehouse 12, 2015)
  • With 9Volt

  • Open Circuit (OutNow, 2012)
  • With Omonimo

  • The Bang (Nueva, 1991)
  • With Jon Raskin

  • The Bass & the Bird Pond (New World, 2000)
  • With Hank Roberts

  • Black Pastels (JMT, 1988)
  • With Herb Robertson

  • Transparency (JMT, 1985)
  • X-Cerpts: Live at Willisau (JMT, 1987)
  • Elaboration (Clean Feed, 2005)
  • Real Aberration (Clean Feed, 2007)
  • With Samo Salamon

  • Duality (Samo Records, 2011)
  • With George Schuller

  • Hellbent (Playscape, 2002)
  • With Ches Smith

  • Hammered (Clean Feed, 2013)
  • With Spring Heel Jack

  • Masses (Thirsty Ear, 2001)
  • With David Torn

  • Prezens (ECM, 2005)
  • With Stefan Winter

  • The Little Trumpet (JMT, 1986)
  • With Yōsuke Yamashita

  • Ways of Time (Verve, 1995)
  • With John Zorn

  • The Big Gundown (Nonesuch/Icon, 1986)
  • Spy vs Spy (Elektra/Musician, 1989)
  • Tim berne 7 shapeshifter lab july 21 2012


    Tim Berne Wikipedia