Big Satan

Souls Saved Hear

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The members of Big Satan have been working together in various groups for years, and all that time playing in various contexts has given them a nearly unmatched rapport as musicians. Tim Berne is one of the most original alto players and composers in jazz at the opening of the 21st century, and Marc Ducret has been playing with him long enough that they have very compatible compositional styles. The tunes are challenging, yet fairly accessible, with convoluted melodies that are often played in unison. These melodies then split off into improvised territory where the tune seems to be deconstructed, but somehow, they end up at the same point and join into another serious mind meld. As Berne and Ducret head away from the melody, it's drummer Tom Rainey who always ties them together, adding polyrhythms to the implied groove and then locking in tight in unison. It's almost telepathic. Compared to other recent releases from Berne, the tunes here are relatively brief and somewhat easier to approach, but just as interesting. A couple of tracks stand out from the others: the brief "Emportez-Moi" is quite atmospheric, and the closer, "Plantain Surgery," has some post-recording effects added courtesy of David Torn, including delay and turning Rainey's drums into a drum'n'bass attack. Berne and his various bands (Big Satan, Hard Cell, Science Friction) have been forging a very personal new sound in jazz, and Souls Saved Hear is another dazzling example. Recommended.

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