Tim Berne's Bloodcount

Unwound

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AllMusic Review by

Unwound is a fully satisfying dose of Tim Berne's Bloodcount (live, as always) in a three-disc set. The first two contain performances from March 1996 that took place in Berlin, while the music on the third disc comes from an April show in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which ended with an epic journey of an improvisation -- the 40-plus minute "What Are the Odds." Disc one, "We're Only in It for the Food," starts with a medium burner that works into a groove called "Bro'ball." This piece (one of the box set's shortest, at 16 minutes) is followed by "No Ma'am," which allows the listener to get used to floating in the thick of the music before any graspable theme emerges (about halfway through). Once it does, the saxophone and bass rewardingly pick up and swap different parts of the melodic and rhythmic lines, often resulting in tight unisons. Drummer Jim Black has some wild and hard-hitting solos on several tracks, including "Yes Dear," the last piece on disc one, and the opener on disc three, "The Other." Bassist Michael Formanek is, as always, a strong and amazing presence, with featured moments including solos in "Loose Ends" and "Mr. Johnson's Blues" (the second and third pieces on disc two). Completing Berne's quartet is Chris Speed, who double-duties on clarinet and tenor saxophone, always intuitive in choosing to play foil or cohort to Berne's alto and baritone. Everybody gets plenty of room for a terrific solo during the closer, "What Are the Odds." This is a great box set, recommended for all big fans of Bloodcount. The uninitiated should start with a smaller dose, such as Saturation Point or Discretion, since Bloodcount's music requires long attention spans (the tracks are over 20 minutes, on average) to reap the musical rewards.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 16:25
2 21:29
3 24:23

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 28:27
2 41:19
blue highlight denotes track pick