||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2009)|
Photo by Matt Brown
|Born||October 16, 1954|
|Labels||Empire, Columbia, Screwgun, ECM Records|
|Associated acts||Bloodcount, Miniature|
Described by critic Thom Jurek as commanding "considerable power as a composer and ... frighteningly deft ability as a soloist", Berne has composed and performed prolifically since the 1980s. His mainstream success has been limited – Berne recorded two albums for Columbia Records – but he has released a significant body of work over the decades spanning dozens of critically acclaimed recordings.
Though Berne was a music fan, he had no interest in playing a musical instrument until he was in college, when he purchased an alto saxophone. He was more interested in rhythm and blues music – Stax records releases and Aretha Franklin, especially – until he heard Julius Hemphill's 1972 recording Dogon A.D. 
In 1979, Berne founded Empire Records to release his own recordings. He recorded Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for Columbia Records, which generated some discussion and controversy, due in part to the fact that Berne's music had little in common with the neo-tradionalist hard bop performers prominent in the mid-1980s. Some regarded Berne's music as uncommercial. In the late 1990s Berne founded Screwgun Records, which has released his own recordings, as well as others' music.
Beyond his recordings as a bandleader, Berne has recorded and/or performed with guitarist Bill Frisell, avant-garde composer/sax player John Zorn, violinist Mat Maneri, guitarist David Torn, cellist Hank Roberts, trumpet player Herb Robertson, the ARTE Quartett and as a member of the cooperative trio Miniature.
Recent years have found Berne performing in several different groups with drummers Tom Rainey and Gerald Cleaver, keyboardist Craig Taborn, bassists Michael Formanek and Drew Gress, guitarists Marc Ducret and David Torn, and reeds player Chris Speed.
Berne's complex, multi-section compositions are often quite lengthy; twenty to thirty minute pieces are not unusual. One critic wrote that Berne's long songs "don't grow tiresome. The musicians are brilliantly creative and experienced enough not to get lost in all the room provided by these large time frames."
- Bloodcount (w/ Michael Formanek, Chris Speed, Jim Black, Marc Ducret)
- Caos Totale (w/ Mark Dresser, Steve Swell, Bobby Previte, Herb Robertson, Marc Ducret, Django Bates)
- Big Satan (w /Tom Rainey, Marc Ducret)
- Hard Cell (w/ Tom Rainey, Craig Taborn)
- Science Friction (w/ Tom Rainey, Craig Taborn, Marc Ducret)
- Paraphrase (w/ Tom Rainey, Drew Gress)
- Miniature (w/ Joey Baron, Hank Roberts)
- Buffalo Collision (w/ Hank Roberts, Ethan Iverson, Dave King)
- BBC Trio (w/ Nels Cline, Jim Black)
- Snakeoil (w/ Oscar Noriega, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith)
- 1979 The Five Year Plan
- 1980 7X
- 1981 Spectres
- 1982 Songs and Rituals in Real Time
- 1983 The Ancestors
- 1983 Mutant Variations
- 1983 Theoretically
- 1986 Fulton Street Maul
- 1988 Sanctified Dreams
- 1989 Tim Berne's Fractured Fairy Tales
- 1990 Pace Yourself
- 1992 Diminutive Mysteries
- 1993 Nice View
- 1994 Lowlife - The Paris Concert One
- 1994 Poisoned Minds - The Paris Concert Two
- 1996 Memory Select - The Paris Concert Three
- 1997 Unwound
- 1997 Discretion
- 1997 Saturation Point
- 1997 I Think They Liked It Honey
- 1998 Please Advise
- 1998 Visitation Rites
- 1998 Ornery People
- 1998 Cause & Reflect
- 2001 The Shell Game
- 2001 Open, Coma
- 2002 The Sevens
- 2002 Science Friction
- 2003 The Sublime And
- 2004 Souls.Savedhear
- 2004 Acoustic and Electric Hard Cell Live
- 2005 Feign
- 2005 Pre-Emptive Denial
- 2005 Prezens with David Torn (ECM
- 2006 Livein Cognito
- 2007 Seconds
- 2008 Duck
- 2010 The Rub and Spare Change with Michael Formanek (ECM)
- 2011 Insomnia
- 2011 The Veil with Jim Black & Nels Cline (Cryptogramophone)
- 2012 Small Places with Michael Formanek (ECM)
- 2012 Snakeoil (ECM)
- 2013 Shadow Man (ECM)
- Thom Jurek. "Empire Box - Tim Berne | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- Lynch, David. "AllMusic Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
- Chapin, Gary. "Diminutive Mysteries (Review)". Retrieved 2012-12-25.
- John Fordham. "Berne/Black/Cline/BB & C: The Veil – review | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- [dead link]
- Official website
- A 1998 interview
- Another interview
- Extensive interview by Ethan Iverson