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Berne calls this band Caos Totale, and if it doesn't quite achieve that lofty goal, it comes close enough to provide a fine mix of rich, involved compositions and lusty, almost rockish, improvisations. One of Berne's songwriting trademarks has been lengthy pieces (often exceeding 30 minutes) with multiple themes that emerge and disappear in an organic but unpredictable way, and this is clearly on view here. Pieces begin in one place but invariably end in another area entirely, but the ride is quite scenic. Berne's band is remarkably strong and imaginative, bolstered for this occasion by Django Bates on keyboards. There a few rhythm teams more powerful than Dresser and Previte, and they propel this ensemble mightily, especially when the groove becomes Mingusian and bluesy which, happily, is often the case. Guitarist Marc Ducret is given the lead much of the time and his noise-oriented playing is the perfect complement to the surging, breathing quality of the pieces. But things always come back to Berne's compositions. Each has its own character, each tells a story and takes as much time as necessary to ensure the story is told with the proper level of detail. In many ways, Berne seems to pick up on groundwork laid by his teacher, the great composer/saxophonist Julius Hemphill, and takes things to the next stage, walking the fine line between deep composition and inspired improvisation. One of Berne's best efforts.
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick


released August 13, 1993

Tim Berne: Composer, Alto Sax
Django Bates: Horn, Keyboards, Peck Horn, Piano
Mark Dresser: Contrabass, Double Bass
Marc Ducret: Guitar
Bobby Previte: Drums
Herb Robertson: Trumpet
Steve Swell: Trombone

Steve Byram: Design
Joe Ferla: Audio Engineer, Engineer
Hiroshi Itsuno: Executive Producer
Robert Lewis: Photography
Günter Mattei: Cover Design
Adrian von Ripka: Engineer, Mixing
Chris Albert: Assistant, Assistant Engineer
Stefan F. Winter: Audio Production, Packaging, Producer


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Tim Berne's Caos Totale Brooklyn, New York

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