Monday, December 28, 2009

Tim Berne to headline RVAJazzfest 2010

*RVAJazz announces RVAJazzfest 2010*

*Internationally renowned saxophonist Tim Berne headlines*

RICHMOND, VA, DECEMBER 23, 2009—The second annual RVAJazzfest will take
place on February 6, 2010, and will feature saxophonist Tim Berne, who will
be performing with local band Ombak. On the heels of the successful first
RVAJazzfest in February 2009, RVAJazzfest 2010 strives to continue
developing a tradition of pairing extraordinary worldwide talent with local
Richmond-based artists.

Along with Berne & Ombak, the Adam Larrabee Trio with Randall Pharr on bass,
Brian Jones on drums, and Larrabee on guitar will perform their
interpretations of the music from Duke Ellington/Charles Mingus/Max Roach's
*Money Jungle* album. Kicking off the show will be the ever inventive Trio
of Justice, the group formerly known as R2Dtoo made up of Reggie Pace on
trombone, Reggie Chapman on sousaphone, and Devonne Harris on drums.

RVAJazzfest will be held at The Camel at 1621 W. Broad Street in Richmond,
VA. Music will start promptly at 9pm. Attendees are encouraged to arrive
early. Tickets will be $15 at the door, $10 in advance. More information on
purchasing tickets in advance will be available in January on


Tim Berne was born in Syracuse, New York in 1954, and was subjected to a
perfectly normal childhood.  But he didn't decide to take up music until
nearly twenty years later when he was attending Lewis and Clark College in
Oregon, putting most of his energy into intramural basketball.  At this
point, while resting a sore ankle in his dormitory, Berne encountered a
saxophonist who was selling his alto, and bought it on impulse.  "There was
just something about the sound of the saxophone that got to me," he says.

Musically, up to that point, Berne had always been motivated by all types of
music, but especially by the great Stax artists like Sam and Dave and
Johnnie Taylor, as well as Motown artists like Martha and the Vandellas and
Gladys Knight.  This passion for the soulful quality in music would follow
him for the rest of his career, a career that he could not possibly foreseen
at the time.  "I hadn't listened to much jazz, but then I heard Julius
Hemphill's album Dogon A.D., and that completely turned me around.  It
captured everything I liked in music.  It had this Stax/R&B sensibility and
it had this other wildness.  It was incredible.  That's when I started

Berne moved to New York in 1974, sought Hemphill out, and entered into a
sort-of apprenticeship with the elder musician.  The "lessons" they had
together lasted for hours and covered everything from composition to record
promotion to recording to pasting up handbills to aspects of magic and
spirituality and, sometimes, even playing the saxophone.  "From the
beginning," Berne says, "even while I was still learning to play the
saxophone, Julius always encouraged me to write my own music as well.  So it
never occurred to me that most people don't play their own music or aren't
bandleaders.  I thought that was just part of it.  You learn how to play
music, you start a band, and that's it.  Julius didn't offer me one system,
but a lot of possibilities, with the emphasis always on ideas and sound."

Berne began issuing his own albums on his own Empire label in 1979.  Over
the next five years he would record and distribute five albums under his own
name which included such musicians as Ed Schuller, Olu Dara, Paul Motian,
John Carter, Glenn Ferris and Bill Frisell.  Following two recordings for
the Italian Soul Note label, Berne recorded Fulton Street
Maul and Sanctified Dreams for Columbia Records.  These recordings coincided
with an increasingly active worldwide touring schedule.

In 1988 Berne began a long relationship with the JMT label with the first of
two recordings with the co-operative Miniature (with Joey Baron and Hank
Roberts).  In 1989 Berne's JMT release Fractured Fairy Tales was hailed as a
masterpiece by the New York Times.  Berne's JMT legacy climaxed with the
historic Paris Concerts given by his quartet bloodcount, released in three
volumes (Lowlife, Poisoned Minds and Memory Select).  These recordings have
received unanimous praise.  Since 1994, bloodcount has performed over 250
concerts worldwide.

In 1996 Berne once again founded his own record label, Screwgun, and
released a three CD set of live recordings by bloodcount, Unwound.  Since
then, Berne continues to tour Europe extensively and record albums with new
groups under various names like Buffalo Collision, Science Friction, and Big

*About OMBAK*

Ombak is an instrumental music quartet based in Richmond, Virginia. Formed
in 2006 by trombonist and composer Bryan Hooten, Ombak's original music
lives at the intersection of jazz, math-rock, noise, and salsa. Guitarist
Trey Pollard, bassist Cameron Ralston and drummer Brian Jones complete an
ensemble able to lock together in relentless precision or explore the outer
reaches of an improvised soundscape.

"An extraordinarily unique group, a swaggering quartet that chomps and
bellows like Albert Mangelsdorff fronting prog-rock...Slushy tailgate,
trombone multiphonics, damaged-blues fretwork and limber percussion stand
well on their own, but Ombak are a collective venture whose parallel roads
all lead to the same end, however upturned it might seem."

"The playing is all snap, swing and sinew, a shotgun wedding of rock's
visceral rush with the cerebral vocabulary of jazz, with some avant-garde
speaking in tongues thrown in for good measure. The effect is bracing and
immediate." Style Weekly

"Ombak is instrumental music for the 21st century…..the meeting point of
Nirvana, Noise, Tommy Dorsey, dub and mathematics…there's a lot of nice
architecture here…. but there's plenty of party going on." Steven Bernstein

"They are a formidable set of minds and limbs, and when you rally them all
at once they can make quite a glorious noise." RVA News

Visit Ombak on the web at


Fretted string wiz Adam Larrabee has performed with many jazz greats
including Dave Holland, Jimmy Heath, Larry Goldings, Barry Harris and Hilton
Ruiz, as well as classical mandolin virtuoso Evan Marshall and banjo
phenomenon Béla Fleck. His primary touring jazz unit, The Dave Zoffer/Adam
Larrabee Duo, has been called "reminiscent of the masterful Bill Evans and
Jim Hall duets in its level of musicianship and interplay" by jazz
percussion guru Bob Moses and their album of original "chamber-jazz,"
"Courage in Closeness: Live in Boston," was voted one of the year's top-ten
albums in 2000 by the Tucson Citizen.

During his countless recordings as a sideman, he has recorded pop music with
the likes of Bruce Hornsby on the 1997 album "Spirit Trail." In the
eclectic, award-winning quartet "Andromeda" he plays Eastern European and
tango-influenced chamber-jazz on guitar, banjo and mandolin. In 2003 the
group was chosen to play for the American Repertory Theater's adaptation of
the traditional Chinese opera "Snow in June" featuring the music of
Berklee-based composer Paul Dresser. In the "Enigmatica" classical mandolin
septet he plays the mandocello and arranges works of Bach and Shostakovich
as well as traditional Brazilian "choro" pieces.

"Adam's talents boggle the mind in their range," says jazz trumpet player
Peter Kenagy.

"Fat tone and killer chops … a feel that is truly amazing," says John Heidt
of Vintage Guitar magazine.

Larrabee taught jazz theory, guitar and composition at the New England
Conservatory in Boston for nine years and is currently teaching jazz and
classical guitar at VCU in Richmond, Va. During the summer, he teaches at
the American Guitar and Mandolin Summer School and Eastern Washington
University's Jazz Dialogue Camp, in addition to giving workshops and clinics
and touring extensively throughout the U.S.


Formerly known as R2Dtoo, Trio of Justice is a new trombone-sousaphone-drum
trio made up of Reggie Pace, Reggie Chapman, and Devonne Harris. Low brass
and percussion — perhaps the two instrument families capable of the loudest
volumes and heaviest weights — are their tools, and their only ones. Their
sound is deep, and they are experts in natural-sounding grooves in the
oddest of meter combinations (that are guided by melody, not contrived
logic) and loose time feels that speed and slow to radical extremes.
Inspired equally by hip-hop, brass band traditions, and avant-garde chaos,
Trio of Justice pulls everything together into a tight package of
imaginative music.

*RVAJazz presents RVAJazzfest*
Saturday, February 6, 2010, 9 pm
Tim Berne with Ombak, Adam Larrabee Trio, Trio of Justice
The Camel, 1621 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220. 804-353-4901
$15, $10 in advance, all ages
Advanced sale ticket information will be available at


Created in December 2007 by local musician and student Dean Christesen,
RVAJazz seeks to strengthen Richmond's music community and act as an
umbrella for local jazz, improvised, and experimental music. Through a
comprehensive event calendar and original content including artist
interviews, CD and live reviews, and local news, RVAJazz is a valuable
resource for the Richmond jazz scene and an active participant of the jazz
blogosphere at large. In October 2009, RVAJazz became the jazz section of
the popular news website Learn more at


Dean Christesen
Jazz editor
(c) 703-606-9517
(tw) @RVAjazz

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