January 24, 2011


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Tim Berne's Los Totopos will perform Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 8:30 p.m. in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University. Saxophonist Tim Berne will be joined by Oscar Noriega on woodwinds, Matt Mitchell on keyboards, and Ches Smith on percussion.

The performance, which is free and open to the public, is part of the ongoing Jazz at Bucknell First Wednesdays series.

Berne's initial self-produced five albums included such innovative artists as Olu Dara, Paul Motian, John Carter, Glenn Ferris and Bill Frisell. His landmark "Fulton Street Maul" and "Sanctified Dreams" for Columbia Records, as well as his 1989 JMT release, "Fractured Fairy Tales," were hailed as masterpieces by the international press, including The New York Times.

The live recordings of Berne's historic Paris Concerts, given by his quartet Bloodcount, received similar unanimous praise. Other recordings include a work commissioned in 1992 for the Rova Saxophone Quartet, published on the Black Saint label, as well as his string quartet, "Dry Ink, Silence," premiered by the Kronos Quartet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Berne has earned commissions from: NYS Council on the Arts; NYS Foundation for the Arts; Reader's Digest/Meet the Composer; Shifting Foundation, British Arts Council Touring Fellowship, Birmingham Jazz Foundation, as well as residencies with the Californian Djerassi Foundation and the New Hampshire MacDowell Colony. Since 1997, his music can be found on his Screwgun label.

Featured in Los Totopos are an Arizona native, multi-reed instrumentalist Oscar Noriega, who has lived in Brooklyn since 1992, where he is active in New York's downtown jazz world. In addition to his work as a leader, he is a member of the quartet Unit X, and of Sideshow, a collective which reinterprets the works of Charles Ives, named Village Voice's "best repertory ensemble of the year" (1999).

Born in 1975, pianist/composer Matt Michell moved to Philadelphia in 1999. He has pursued an interest in the intersections of both composed and improvised music and of classical, jazz and electronic music, performing throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to his solo activities, he has been a member of the long-standing Philadelphia-area groups Kaktus and Feigner. His most recent recording, the large-scale electroacoustic piece, "vapor squint, antique chromatic," was released on Scrapple in 2007 to uniformly positive reviews.

Percussionist/composer Ches Smith has played with Good for Cows, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog, Secret Chiefs 3, Tim Berne's Los Totopos, the Mary Halvorson Trio and Quintet, Ben Goldberg Quintet, Xiu Xiu, John Zorn and Terry Riley.

Jazz at Bucknell is a chamber series conceived to present international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.



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