Tim Berne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tim Berne
Tim Berne.jpg
Background information
Born (1954-10-16) October 16, 1954 (age 67)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
GenresAvant-garde jazz
Years active1979–present
LabelsEmpire, Soul Note, Columbia, JMT, Screwgun, Thirsty Ear, ECM, Intakt

Tim Berne (born October 16, 1954)[1] is an American avant-garde jazz saxophonist and record label owner. His primary instruments are the alto and baritone saxophones.


Tim Berne

Berne was born in Syracuse, New York, United States.[1] He has said that he had no interest in playing an instrument until he attended Lewis & Clark College in Oregon. Hearing the album Dogon A.D. (1972) by Julius Hemphill turned his attention toward jazz. He was a fan of rhythm and blues, and it seemed to him that Hemphill was playing jazz with the soulfulness of R&B. In 1974, he went to New York to find Hemphill, who gave him saxophone lessons and advice on how to manage his career.[1] Berne started the record label Empire in 1979.[2]

For Empire, he recorded four albums with avant-garde jazz musicians such as John Carter, Alex Cline, Nels Cline, Olu Dara, Vinny Golia, Paul Motian, and Ed Schuller.[1] His next two albums appeared on Soul Note in the early 1980s.[1] In these sessions he worked with trumpeter Herb Robertson. He then got a contract with Columbia and recorded with Robertson, Hank Roberts, and Bill Frisell.[1] After two albums, he signed with JMT, a label known for avant-garde jazz. In the 1990s, he recorded in the trio, Miniature, with Roberts and Joey Baron,[1] and in the band Caos Totale with Django Bates, Mark Dresser, Marc Ducret, Steve Swell, and Bobby Previte. He led a trio with Michael Formanek and Jim Black, then added Chris Speed for a quartet. PolyGram bought JMT and closed it. This motivated Berne to start Screwgun Records as the outlet for his albums.[2]

He is one-third of the group BBC (Berne/Black/Cline) with Jim Black and Nels Cline of Wilco. The group released a critically acclaimed album called The Veil in 2011.[3]


  • Miniature (Joey Baron, Hank Roberts)
  • Caos Totale (Django Bates, Mark Dresser, Marc Ducret, Bobby Previte, Herb Robertson, Steve Swell)
  • Bloodcount (Jim Black, Marc Ducret, Michael Formanek, Chris Speed)
  • Big Satan (Tom Rainey, Marc Ducret)
  • Hard Cell (Tom Rainey, Craig Taborn)
  • Science Friction (Tom Rainey, Craig Taborn, Marc Ducret)
  • Paraphrase (Tom Rainey, Drew Gress)
  • Buffalo Collision (Hank Roberts, Ethan Iverson, David King)
  • BBC Trio (Nels Cline, Jim Black)
  • Snakeoil (Oscar Noriega, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, Marc Ducret, formerly Ryan Ferreira)
  • Broken Shadows (Dave King, Reid Anderson, Chris Speed)


As leader/co-leader[edit]

with Bill Frisell[edit]

with Miniature[edit]

with Caos Totale[edit]

with Michael Formanek and Jeff Hirshfield[edit]

  • 1993 Loose Cannon (Soul Note)

with Marilyn Crispell[edit]

with Michael Formanek[edit]

  • 1998 Ornery People (Little Brother)

with Hank Roberts[edit]

  • 1998 Cause & Reflect (Level Green)

with Bloodcount[edit]

with Paraphrase[edit]

with Big Satan[edit]

with Hardcell[edit]

with Herb Robertson, Marc Ducret and the Copenhagen Art Ensemble[edit]

with Science Friction[edit]

  • 2002 Science Friction (Screwgun)
  • 2003 The Sublime And (Thirsty Ear)
  • 2007 Mind Over Friction (Screwgun) compilation of previous Science Friction releases
  • 2020 Science Friction +size (9donkeys)

with ARTE Quartett[edit]

with Buffalo Collision[edit]

  • 2008 Duck (Screwgun)

with BB&C[edit]

with Bruno Chevillon[edit]

  • 2011 Old and Unwise (Clean Feed)

with Snakeoil[edit]

with Matt Mitchell[edit]

  • 2018 Angel Dusk (Screwgun)
  • 2020 1 (9donkeys)
  • 2020 Spiders (Out of Your Head)

with Broken Shadows[edit]

  • 2019 Broken Shadows (Newvelle)
  • 2020 Broken Shadows Live (9donkeys)

with Nasheet Waits[edit]

  • 2020 The Coandă Effect (Relative Pitch)

with Gregg Belisle-Chi[edit]

  • 2022 Mars (Intakt)

As sideman[edit]

With Ray Anderson

With Enten Eller

  • Melquiades (Splasc(H), 1999)
  • Auto da Fe (Splasc(H), 2001)

With Umberto Petrin

  • Ellessi (Splasc(H), 1999)

With Jazzophone Compagnie

  • Mosaiques (Yolk, 2000)

With Nels Cline

With Marc Ducret

  • Tower Vol. 2 (Ayler, 2011)
  • Tower Bridge (Ayler, 2014)

With Mr. Rencore

  • Intollerant (Auand, 2011)

With Simon Fell

  • Positions & Descriptions (Clean Feed, 2011)

With Figure 8

With Michael Formanek

  • Extended Animation (Enja, 1992)
  • Low Profile (Enja, 1994)
  • Nature of the Beast (Enja, 1997)
  • The Rub and Spare Change (ECM, 2010)
  • Small Places (ECM, 2012)
  • The Distance (ECM, 2016)

With Vinny Golia

  • Compositions for Large Ensemble (Nine Winds, 1984)
  • Facts of Their Own Lives (Nine Winds, 1986)

With Drew Gress

  • Spin & Drift (Premonition, 2001)
  • 7 Black Butterflies (Premonition, 2005)
  • The Irrational Numbers (Premonition, 2007)
  • The Sky Inside (Pirouet, 2013)

With Mark Helias

  • Split Image (Enja, 1985)
  • The Current Set (Enja, 1986)

With Julius Hemphill

With Ingrid Laubrock

With Hank Roberts

With Herb Robertson

With Samo Salamon & Tom Rainey

  • Duality (Samo Records, 2012)

With George Schuller

  • Hellbent (Playscape, 2002)

With Ches Smith

  • Hammered (Clean Feed, 2013)
  • International Hoohah (For Tune, 2014)

With Spring Heel Jack

  • Masses (Thirsty Ear, 2001)

With David Torn

  • Prezens (ECM, 2005)
  • Slipped On A Bar (Screwgun, 2009)
  • Son Of Goldfinger (ECM, 2019)
  • Son Of Goldfinger (Congratulations To You) (9donkeys, 2020)
  • xFORM (9donkeys, 2020)

With Stefan Winter

  • The Little Trumpet (JMT, 1986)

With Yōsuke Yamashita

  • Ways of Time (Verve, 1995)

With John Zorn


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who’s Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  2. ^ a b Lynch, Dave. "Tim Berne". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  3. ^ Fordham, John (28 July 2011). "Berne/Black/Cline/BB & C: The Veil". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 August 2018.

External links[edit]