Acclaim for the first, eponymous album from saxophonist-composer Tim Bernes acoustic quartet Snake oil came from far and wide. Stoked by this reception, Bernes Snake oil has upped the ante with it's second ECM release, Shadow Man.
Over four years together, Berne and his band of New York standouts pianist Matt Mitchell, clarinetist Oscar Noriega and drummer/percussionist Ches Smith have developed a rapport that sounds like communal telepathy. The studio outcome is a marvel of kinetic action, the six pieces of Shadow Man making for music as visceral as it is cerebral; there is rollercoaster dynamism and aching lyricism, roiling counterpoint and intriguing harmony, glinting detail and ensemble impact.
The album is a dizzying experience for the senses, breath-taking and, ultimately, moving in it's sheer imaginative verve.
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