Tim Berne's Paraphrase

The Lot, Edinburgh, Thu 29 Mar


Tim Berne is a leading light on New York’s so-called Downtown jazz scene. This very rare opportunity to catch him live in Scotland sees him in the familiar setting of Paraphrase, a trio with two of his most compatible collaborators, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey (who played this venue last Autumn with Julian Argüelles).

‘When we started Paraphrase, I think I just wanted to have a group with those two guys. We used to get together and just play. It was always improvised and always really a lot of fun, and different from anything else we did. Somehow we would hit these areas that we didn’t hit playing in any other situation.’

The saxophonist admits that his decision to form the trio as a performing unit also arose partly out of a desire to confront two scenarios in which he felt less than comfortable - playing in an all-improvised situation, and working with just bass and drums, a situation he says he has a hard time writing for.

‘My response was that we should just do gigs and play, and it wasn’t the disaster we thought it might be - it turned out it was really fun, so we just decided to keep it that way.’

The three musicians have adhered strictly to the freely improvised ethic that distinguishes Paraphrase from some of Berne’s other projects.

‘We don’t plan anything. We don’t talk about it. The only time we talk is after a gig - usually not the three of us, but in pairs. It’s almost like it’s voodoo to talk about it with the three of us. And when you’re on a long tour, there are nights where you just let the audience be your barometer. Sometimes it’s just nice to say, well, they liked it, I guess it must have been cool.’

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