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Tim Berne (born 1954) is an American jazz saxophone player and composer.

Though Berne was a music fan, he had no interest in playing a musical instrument until he was in college, when he purchased an alto saxophone. He was more interested in rhythm and blues music–Stax records releases and Aretha Franklin, especially–until he heard a recording by Julius Hemphill.

Hemphill was known for his integration of soul music and funk with free jazz. Berne moved to New York City in 1974. There Berne took lessons from Hemphill, and later recorded with him.

In 1979, Berne founded Empire Records to release his own recordings. He recorded two albums for Columbia Records, which generated some discussion and controversy, due in part to the fact that Berne's music had little in common with the neo-tradionalist hard bop performers prominent in the mid-1980s. Some regarded Berne's music as uncommercial. In the late 1990s Berne founded Screwgun Records, which has released his own recordings, as well as others' music.

Beyond his recordings as a bandleader, Berne has recorded and/or performed with guitarist Bill Frisell, avant-garde composer/sax player John Zorn, violinist Mat Maneri, trumpet player Herb Robertson and as a member of the cooperative trio Miniature (group).

Recent years have found Berne performing in several different groups with drummer Tom Rainey, keyboardist Craig Taborn, bassists Michael Formanek and Drew Gress, guitarists Marc Ducret and David Torn, and reeds player Chris Speed.

Berne's complex, multi-section compositions are often quite lengthy; twenty to thirty minute pieces are not unusual. One critic has written that Berne's long songs "don't grow tiresome. The musicians are brilliantly creative and experienced enough not to get lost in all the room provided by these large time frames."

Discography

* 1979 The Five Year Plan
* 1980 7X
* 1981 Songs and Rituals in Real Time
* 1983 Ancestors
* 1983 Mutant Variations
* 1983 Theoretically
* 1986 Fulton Street Maul
* 1988 Sanctified Dreams
* 1989 Tim Berne's Fractured Fairy Tales
* 1990 Pace Yourself
* 1992 Diminutive Mysteries
* 1993 Nice View
* 1994 Lowlife
* 1994 Poisoned Minds
* 1996 Memory Select
* 1997 Discretion
* 1997 Saturation Point
* 1997 Visitation Rites
* 1997 I Think They Liked It Honey
* 1998 Please Advise
* 1998 Visitation Rites
* 1998 Ornery People
* 1998 Cause & Reflect
* 2001 The Shell Game
* 2001 Open, Coma
* 2002 The Sevens
* 2002 Science Friction
* 2003 The Sublime And
* 2004 Souls.Savedhear
* 2004 Acoustic and Electric Hard Cell Live
* 2005 Feign
* 2005 Pre-Emptive Denial

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