On BBC Radio 3’s Jazz On 3 tonight there’s a live recording of Tim Berne’s band Snakeoil.
Here is what Jez Nelson has to say:
If a snakeoil salesman is a peddler of quackery and products of dubious quality, what does that make this week’s band? Well, if their music is a scam, it’s an extremely intricate and ear-pleasing one, and I for one am more than happy to be taken for a ride.
Tim Berne has brought his wares to Jazz on 3 before and we’ve never been disappointed. This new quartet is no different, although the palette contains some softer shades than some of his previous bands. The trademark punchiness is there from the start, but there are also some really intricate melodic lines and delicate timbres that suggest classical chamber music as much as an improv band. It’s the way that the music moves between complex composition and more open sections that I really enjoy, and as Tim says in our chat in the middle of the programme, the band have worked tirelessly at becoming ‘tight and loose’ at the same time.
The second part of the performance starts mellow, with a beautifully warm bass clarinet solo from Oscar Noriega, before drummer Ches Smith – a real discovery for me in this band – whips out the cowbell as a signal for things to gradually get heavy. The quartet finishes with a flourish, a big, propulsive number that clinches the deal and certainly had the Vortex crowd convinced that this band is the real deal.
So, join Jez tonight from 11.15pm, or listen online for seven days after broadcast here.