Over a career that stretches back nearly 40 years, saxophonist Tim Berne is most often associated with New York’s experimental jazz scene, whose hub lies in particular venues, such as the now defunct Tonic and downtown Manhattan’s The Stone. While that music is often free form and can be quite jarring to the uninitiated, Berne took a different direction with his latest group, Snakeoil, which will be performing on Sunday at Bohemian Caverns.
“I’ve written a lot of music for this group,” Berne recently told DCist. “I was heading for a little more harmonic material, maybe a little more lush sounding.”
Snakeoil is a collaboration between Berne, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, drummer Ches Smith and pianist Matt Mitchell, with Smith and Mitchell providing the foundation to the sinuous and textural playing of the two woodwinds. The material Berne had written for the quartet was extensively rehearsed and refined over two years, giving the 57-year old bandleader over four hours of material to choose from when he felt ready to record the band.
“Whenever I do a studio record, I