Tim Berne, though ridiculously underlauded in general forums, is one of our times' great sax players, a gent so adept that the big-time Columbia label hadn't a clue what was going on with the guy's blend of classic Coltrane /Rollins strains well blent with more linearly abstract formalisms and published only two of his 50+ releases as leader or co-leader, after which JMT, ECM, and other of the more outside combines happily picked the musician up. Well, drummer Ananda Gari's now got him, along with the prestigious bassist Michael Formanek on bass, and Rez Abbasi on a very unusual pointillistic guitar. The foursome stretches across trad, avant-garde, fusion, and progressive genres, the result of which is not unlike an amalgamation of the Ogun, Japo, MoonJune, and other imprints along with those just mentioned.
I think the categorization I'd put on Abbasi would be to compare him to a John Abercrombie crossing between the work with Ralph Towner and much earlier Gateway releases but also with the most interesting inclusions of single-string applications which Fripp had manifested in his Starless period. The seven cuts of this disc are highly moody, often wild and spatially lamentive, and leader Gari is as transmorphic as his cohorts, changing up colors, patterns, and inflections at a moment's notice yet always definedly within the swiftly mutating architectures, never a micro-second away from profound cohesivity with the rest of the group.
Formanek is the quietest member of the ensemble, the true bottom-line rhythm section, more fundamentally attached to the groundwork, Gari just above him, Abbasi comping before tearing things up, Berne never anything but restless and prowling, an untameable force of nature. Not a moment of the release is anything but intriguing and absorbing…though, as you've guessed by now, T-Duality is not for mainstream palettes, not even for three measures. Either arrive at the table with sophistication and breadth, or you're going to come away doubting your sanity. If you love and pine for this type, level, and quality of music as much as I do, output all too rare at ant period in time, then give yourself an early Christmas present. Santa sure as hell ain't no beatnik, so don't depend on his fat keister.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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