Tim Berne’s Snakeoil is the major jazz event of the infant new year - The Buffalo News

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Tim Berne’s Snakeoil is the major jazz event of the infant new year

It’s the jazz event of the infant new year. And by far, too.

And, along with it, it’s firmly in keeping with the prevailing current irony of Buffalo jazz performance life.

When Tim Berne and Snakeoil perform at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery auditorium as part of the Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz Series, it will be affirming a thoroughly remarkable fact of local jazz life: Since the loss of jazz radio in this city, the hardiest form of jazz performance by national figures, by far, has been those in the ranks of avant-garde jazz.

Of whom few, if any, since Cecil Taylor’s solo piano event in Babeville have been anywhere close to the stature of Berne and Snakeoil.

Berne is one of the most remarkable figures ever to come out of jazz’s avant-garde ranks. As an alto saxophonist, his command of his instrument has, at times, seemed to rival the command of the late great Eric Dolphy.

His alto saxophone mentors were two of the greatest figures in the jazz vanguard, Anthony Braxton and Julius Hemphill. Since then, he has performed with such musicians as Paul Motian, Bill Frissell, Hank Roberts, John Zorn, Michael Formanek, David Torn, Joey Baron, Mark Dresser, Drew Gress, Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey. He has been commissioned to write music for the Kronos Quartet, the Copenhagen Art Ensemble and the Rova Saxophone Quartet.

Berne and Snakeoil’s second ECM disc “Shadow Man” contains the personnel who will be with him today: Oscar Noriega on clarinet, Matt Mitchell on piano, Ches Smith on drums, percussion and vibes.

Preceding the concert at 2 p.m. will be a talk with the series curator, Bruce Eaton. Tickets are $25 for gallery members, $29 for non-members.

email: jsimon@buffnews.com

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