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Electric and Acoustic Live

by Hard Cell

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AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard

The rapport between Berne's longtime associates Tom Rainey and Marc Ducret, along with newer recruit, keyboard genius Craig Taborn, is truly astonishing, especially on 2003's live Sublime And and now on Hard Cell Live. This is the trio of Berne, Taborn, and Rainey, recorded acoustically (Taborn just on piano) in Brooklyn and with Rhodes, keyboards, and electronics recorded live in Ann Arbor, MI, as part of the annual Edgefest festival. Just to get it out of the way, this band is amazing. Each is a powerful and original improviser, and they listen and react to each other like parts of a single brain. It's very interesting to hear "Van Gundy's Retreat" handled acoustically (heard in an electric version on Sublime And). The way the band negotiates these complex but accessible tunes is really something to behold, and Taborn's incredible piano playing will surely turn some heads. The recording of the electric tracks sounds just a bit distant in comparison, but you can still hear everything quite well. Taborn went to school in Ann Arbor, and the band was on fire for these performances. Berne's playing is explosive and Taborn comes off like some kind of mad keyboard scientist at times. Rainey is all over the place, but always holding it together, moving from spastic stop-time fills to ferocious grooves and back instantly. This band is incredible. Berne and company are at the vanguard of new jazz for the 21st century, and the rapid pace at which their catalog is expanding is really separating them from the pack. Brilliant.


released January 1, 2004

Tim Berne, Composer, Alto Sax
Tom Rainey, Drums
Craig Taborn, Electronics, Keyboards, Piano
Jules Ryan, Engineer
Splattercell, Mastering
Artwork, Steve Byram



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