Jazz Poetry Month: Tim Berne Trio plus Tracy K. Smith and Featured PoetsSaturday, September 30, 2017 @ 9 p.m.
Join us for an evening of jazz with the Tim Berne Trio! Between sets, the musicians will also collaborate with Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and exiled writer-in-residence Tuhin Das (Bangladesh) for a jazz and poetry interlude.
The compositions of iconic saxophonist/bandleader Tim Berne have earned renown for their intensely kinetic, dizzyingly intricate quality as performed around the world by his various groups over the past four decades. With the album førage – available digitally and on CD from Screwgun – listeners have the chance to experience Berne’s music as never before, in versions for solo piano. Virtuoso pianist Matt Mitchell, a member of Berne’s hit band Snakeoil, has explored the full range of the composer’s songbook. In fact, Berne says: “No one knows my music better than Matt.” On førage, Mitchell devises mash-ups of multiple compositions, improvises new angles off the music, and often slows it down to reveal heretofore hidden beauties – limpid harmonies and ruminative melodies, like dark pearls unspooled. Studio maestro David Torn – a longtime sonic co-conspirator with Berne, as well as producer of Mitchell’s past two albums – helmed the recording of førage. The cover artwork and distinctive CD package is by Steven Byram, who has worked hand in glove with Berne for decades (including the recent Screwgun publication of their joint art book, Spare).
Tim Berne began issuing his own albums on his own Empire label in 1979. Over the next five years he would record and distribute five albums under his own name which included such musicians as Ed Schuller, Olu Dara, Paul Motian, John Carter, Glenn Ferris and Bill Frisell. Following two recordings for the Italian Soul Note label, Berne recorded Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for Columbia Records. These recordings coincided with an increasingly active worldwide touring schedule. In 1988 Berne began a long relationship with the JMT label with the first of two recordings with the co-operative Miniature (with Joey Baron and Hank Roberts). In 1989 Berne’s JMT release Fractured Fairy Tales was hailed as a masterpiece by the New York Times.
Berne’s JMT legacy climaxed with the historic Paris Concerts given by his quartet bloodcount, released in three volumes (Lowlife, Poisoned Minds and Memory Select). These recordings have received unanimous praise. Since 1994, bloodcount has performed over 250 concerts worldwide. In 1996 Berne once again founded his own record label, Screwgun, and released a three CD set of live recordings by bloodcount, Unwound. He also had a new string quartet, dry ink, silence, premiered by the Kronos Quartet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 1997 has found Berne touring the U.S. and Europe with bloodcount, writing music for large ensemble on commission, and preparing the next three Screwgun releases by his bands bloodcount and Paraphrase. In addition, a recording of The Visible Man, a piece commissioned in 1992 for the Rova Saxophone Quartet, has just been issued on a disc called The Works, Volume 2 on the Black Saint label.
Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music.His album Fiction was released in 2013 on Pi Recordings. Critically acclaimed and listed on numerous Album-of-the-year lists in 2013, Fiction features 15 of Mitchell’s compositions performed in duo with Ches Smith.Other ensembles he leads or co-leads include the Matt Mitchell Quartet with Chris Speed, Chris Tordini, and Dan Weiss;Normal Remarkable Persons with Tim Berne, Herb Robertson, Shane Endsley, Travis Laplante, Tyshawn Sorey, Ches Smith, and Dan Weiss; the duo Fourth Floor with Dan Weiss, and Snark Horse with Kate Gentile.He is a member of Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, the Darius Jones Quartet, Dan Weiss’s Fourteen, the Kate Gentile Trio, the Ben Perowsky Quartet, Mario Pavone’s Blue Dialect Trio, the Anna Webber Trio, Ches Smith’s We All Break, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, and Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux.
Kate Gentile is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer. Her music explores unconventional and often complex harmonic and rhythmic material, as well as the intersections of acoustic and electronic sounds. Gentile’s compositions have been described as “…hyper-detailed…designed to spur multi-faceted improvisation.”
In addition to the quartet with Jeremy Viner, Matt Mitchell and Adam Hopkins on her debut album ‘Mannequins,’ other projects Kate is a part of are Snark Horse, in which she co-leads and shares compositional duties with pianist Matt Mitchell; Matt Mitchell’s projects Phalanx Ambassadors and A Pouting Grimace, and Dustin Carlson’s septet Air Ceremony. Gentile and Carlson also have a compositionally collaborative guitar-drums duo called Secret People.
Kate has also worked with Anthony Braxton, Marty Ehrlich, Michael Formanek, Helado Negro, Ted Reichman, Chris Speed, Anna Webber, and John Zorn.
Tracy K. Smith is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015) and three books of poetry. Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Duende won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. The Body’s Question was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005. In 2014 the Academy of American Poets awarded Smith with the Academy Fellowship, awarded to one poet each year to recognize distinguished poetic achievement. She is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.
Tuhin Das (Bangladesh) is a poet, activist, political columnist, short story writer and essayist. He was born and raised in Barisal, Bangladesh. He is the author of seven poetry books in his native language (Bengali). He was involved in the Little Magazine Movement and edited a few literary magazines; he’s had contemporary poetry criticism articles, short stories and political columns published in the last fifteen years in Bangladesh.
Since 2013, he has been the target of fundamentalist militant groups who have murdered secular writers and activists in Bangladesh. Instead of protecting him, the police collected and examined his writings for anti-Islamist statements to use against him. To save his own life, he had no choice but to go into hiding and find a way out of Bangladesh. He left his country on April 2016. Tuhin Das is now the current ICORN writer-in-residence of City of Asylum in Pittsburgh.