Deep-dish jazz fans in Santa Barbara may have found themselves doing a double take when checking out SOhO’s February calendar. Could that be the Tim Berne coming to the club on Tuesday, in a duo with acclaimed pianist Matt Mitchell? Yes, it’s the one and only, the famed N.Y.C. alto saxist/bandleader/composer/label keeper who has maintained a respected and ever-evolving position in the avant-garde jazz spotlight for four decades.
Santa Barbara’s live jazz bookings rarely venture outside of mainstream fare, which makes the Berne/Mitchell date extra special in town. Berne, who has gotten a lot of traction and respect in Europe, has recorded many albums, for his own Screwgun Records label as well as ECM and Columbia.
The Independent caught up with Berne last week for an interview while he was in Europe with his wily electro-acoustic group Snakeoil — his primary focus in the past decade. Asked about prior Santa Barbara gigging, Berne recalled shows at Westmont College in the early ’80s, with Nels and Alex Cline and trumpeter Herb Robertson.