Tim Berne’s Førage feat. Matt Mitchell
The compositions of iconic saxophonist/bandleader Tim Berne have earned respect 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, you have the chance to experience Berne’s music as never before, in versions for solo piano: virtuoso pianist Matt Mitchell has explored the full range of the composer’s songbook.
This is the first music-only physical product from Berne’s imprint Screwgun in years, the saxophonist having lately released the three most widely acclaimed albums of his career via ECM.
Studio maestro David Torn – a long time 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 Byran, who has worked hand in glove with Berne for decades – including the recent Screwgun publication of their joint art book, Spare.
førage refers to Mitchell foraging through Berne’s music to find the pieces that felt best for exploring solo to find the parts that speak most to him, that inspire him as an improviser.
Mitchell’s re-combinations of Berne material on førage can see the pianist move, for example, in the new track Cløùdē from music derived from the beginning of Spare Parts (off the first Snakeoil album) to a section from Thin Ice (The Shell Game) back into Spare Parts.
Similarly, the new pieceŒrbs finds Mitchell starting with a loose version of the head from Not Sure (Snakeoil) and then improvising into the intro from OC/DC (Shadow Man).
From the arrangements and performances to the recorded sound and physical package, førage is very much the product of a crew of kindred spirits.
Mitchell not only hears everything that’s going on, he exudes such positive energy – something that’s really important when someone is performing alone.