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Ches Smith and These Arches

Alto saxophonist Tim Berne (Snakeoil) has joined scrappy drummer Ches Smith’s fray alongside tenor man Tony Malaby, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and accordionist Andrea Parkins. The quintet, which oscillates impishly between form and freedom as grooves simmer underneath the clanging together of disparate sensibilities, will play music from their forthcoming Hammered.

Wed., Aug. 15, 8 p.m., 2012

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Son of Goldfinger

Love the rapport between guitarist David Torn and saxophonist Tim Berne: If one is waxing ethereal, the other is wrecking like a twister. (Roles are kind moot in this group, which also boasts Ches Smith on drums.) Free forays with textural mandates seem the natural stomping ground, and their choice of dynamic shifts can be masterful.

Sat., April 7, 8:30 p.m., 2012

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Matt Mitchell

This pianist is currently making a mark with saxophonist Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, and Berne’s rigorous flow of phrases fits snuggly in Mitchell’s wheelhouse. That being said, Mitchell’s own music can be thick with action as well, filled with repeated swirls of sound pushed forward by a physical attack he shares with his drummers. This duets gig is novel because he’ll be accompanied solely by percussionists, first Ches Smith, then Dan Weiss.

Wed., March 7, 9 & 10:30 p.m., 2012

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John Hebert’s Sounds of Love

Mingus is probably on the minds of many bassists, but I’m willing to wager that Hebert is primarily taken with Charles as a composer. His new quintet with Taylor Ho Bynum, Tim Berne, Fred Hersch, and Ches Smith looks intriguing on paper (Hebert’s got big ears when it comes to juxtaposing jazz personalities), and when they get ahold of meaty items such as “Remember Rockefeller at Attica,” those jail doors will crash open with a bang.

Sat., July 2, 10 p.m., 2011

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John Zorn & Tyshawn Sorey

Drummer Sorey is one of the most engaging wild cards on the local improv scene–a master of quiet chemistry at one gig and pummeling percussion at the next. Bet his pow-wow with experimental maestro Zorn yields the kind of acute dynamics that generate an edge-of-your-seat vibe. If there is one thing that they both agree upon, it’s dramatic impact. Tim Berne’s Los Totopos shares the bill.

Wed., June 15, 8 p.m., 2011

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aarses

The last time guitarist David Torn connected with saxophonist Tim Berne, they came up with Prezens, an excursion into the wild blue yonder that demonstrated how a vicious attack could coincide with a spacey demeanor. This new collab finds drummer Ches Smith on board as well, and his crackling approach to rhythm should put him quickly in the same zip code as his workmates. In cahoots, Torn and Berne have more exclamations coming from their axes than Wiki has leaks.

Thu., Dec. 16, 8 p.m., 2010

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Michael Formanek

The bassist’s discs as a leader a few and far between, so it’s a bit of an event when he drops something new, such as this fall’s The Rub and Spare Change. Formanek’s varied interests are on display in this vivid quartet music. Dreamy repetition morphs into aggressive zigzagging, and help from Tim Berne, Craig Taborn, and Gerald Cleaver lets Formanek’s slinky lines spill into unexpected destinations. This is heady music, but there’s plenty of whomp in play, too.

Wed., Oct. 27, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2010

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Bad Lucid+Four Limones

When bassist John Hebert is the boss, they’re known as Byzantine Monkey. When saxophonist Michael Attias barks out the orders, they’re Twines of Colesion. Tonight, they’re Bad Lucid, and their pointed free jazz comes with a simple goal: to turn themselves “into lava, ice, grass, animals and big cathedral organs.” Stop the hand-wringing; jazz now has a purpose. Attias and Tony Malaby are twist ‘n turn adepts; Hebert and drummer Nasheet Waits are a two-man trampoline. If you arrive earlier in the evening, 4 Limones, which includes Tim Berne and Rick Parker, will attempt similar transfigurations.

Tue., Jan. 26, 9 p.m., 2010

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Los Totopos

Tim Berne’s latest aggregation features a chatty drummer who makes like melody man and a percussive pianist who can throw down some beats. That means even the chutes and ladders sections of the boss’s book become a rhythmic playground. At their Williamsburg premiere a couple months ago, they transfixed a dedicated throng ’til the wee hours. Inside this tiny club, they’ll be overwhelming. Ask for “The Mini Bar Incident.”

Wed., Dec. 23, 8 p.m., 2009

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The BBC

From Marc Ducret to David Torn, guitarists bring out the mania in Tim Berne’s horn—the saxophonist is most pugnacious when galloping next to a dude who’s all amped up. In the case of this new outfit, that dude is Berne’s old bud and current Wilco wonder Nels Cline, who’s more like six or seven guitarists, given the imaginative way he wields the instrument. With the inspired clatter of drummer Jim Black (see how the group moniker works, now?), the trio will surely concoct a thick stream of insightful hubbub.

Thu., July 30, 8 & 10 p.m., 2009