Tim Berne, Matt Mitchell, One More, Please, Intakt ****

Another one for inclusion in any self respecting listener's albums of the year top choice - and certainly one of the best avant releases of the year in a packed field. An intimate anti-establishmentarian alto sax and piano duo framed within the …

Published: 15 Nov 2022. Updated: 21 days.

Another one for inclusion in any self respecting listener's albums of the year top choice - and certainly one of the best avant releases of the year in a packed field. An intimate anti-establishmentarian alto sax and piano duo framed within the confines of a fracturing universe there is no fear of complacency. Neither is there obscurity for the sake of it. Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell play originals that make sense - a tip of the hat to Paul Motian and a version of Tim's hero Julius Hemphill's 'Number 2' also make the cut. For spiky challenging but crucially meaningful sounds as an abstract expressionist collage you will search long and hard to find any better. And with Berne there is also that salty tenderness that Mitchell knows how to negotiate and alchemise so well. One, More, Please is a little reminiscent of the idiom and rapport heard between Alexander Hawkins and Angelika Niescier on Soul in Plain Sight with added nihilistic firepower and a very different lens on the world the crucial added ingredients and secret sauce.

More on Tim Berne:

Mars

You've Been Watching Me

More on Matt Mitchell:

Phalanx Ambassadors

Snark Horse

Full albums of the year list

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Esbjörn Svensson, Home. S, ACT *****

If you know and love the music of Esbjörn Svensson it is hard not to be moved given the intimate, disciplined explorations of mind and technique on Home. S - what could even be considered a classical album. With tracks signified by Greek letters …

Published: 15 Nov 2022. Updated: 21 days.

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If you know and love the music of Esbjörn Svensson it is hard not to be moved given the intimate, disciplined explorations of mind and technique on Home. S - what could even be considered a classical album. With tracks signified by Greek letters there are flickers of the great piano canon at times like intimations of a Beethoven sonata on 'Zeta'. And it's hard not to think of Bach and The Well-Tempered Clavier in the rolling passages where ideas intertwine and development grows as a mountain in the near distance that Svensson shows no fear of - he created his own personal mountains after all. Gone far too soon with his premature death in a scuba diving accident in 2008 the timeless sound of Svensson remains a thing of beauty and once more another plinth, ever taller, is added to the statuesque presence of his achievements on records. 'Alpha' is a dreamy Bill Evans-like meditation but it is striking how beyond genre these pieces are. All never heard before Home. S was recorded only weeks before the Swedish pianist's death.