In early 2008 Tim Berne was booked to appear at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Sophie Brous, the artistic director at the time, approached Scott Tinkler to assemble a band to play Tim's music. I have been familiar with Tim's music since 2006, when I came across his own work with ensembles Hard Cell, Paraphrase, and Science Friction. Performing his music with him was fantastic, the compositions were challenging and rewarding, and meeting and playing with him turned out to be a fantastic experience (it seems that, so often, in-person meetings can prove disappointing). I remember being immediately struck his sound and attitude; he seemed to fit right in . . .
When Tim was invited back to the 2011 M.I.J.F. I was quick to organise to get into the studio and play. I decided that the best outcome for this session would be for us to just get in there, play, and leave. That's what we did, the result of which is this album. No edits. All takes. We set-up, checked, and then played these three pieces. This is an honest documentation of a moment when five musicians got together and just played.
The title, "Ordinary Madness," seems an apt description for a group of musicians who, as far as I can tell, are, in one way or another, misfits. The Australians in this group all share the opinion that it is more worthwhile developing a personal sound rather than remaining dedicated to the contemporary, north-American jazz tradition. Our culture is separate from those on the other side of the Pacific, why should we only imitate? Tim has become a tremendous figure on the downtown New York improv scene. His sound is immediately distinguishable and undeniably his.
I can't imagine making music any other way, or dedicating my life to anything other than developing my own approach to playing this music. If this is "madness," as some seem to regard it, it is perfectly "ordinary" to me.
Thanks to Tim, Scott, Phil and Simon for helping make this happen, Ross Cockle and Phil for great work on the sound and Arthur Leeds Schmidt for the images.
Recorded 9th June, 2011 at Allan Eatons Studios, Melbourne Australia.
Mixed and mastered by Philip Rex