Half Notes: Bill Barner – Ten Tunes (2012)

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Longtime reedman Bill Barner has played it all in his career: Dixieland, free jazz, bop, Latino music, fusion jazz, and on and on. But for his new album Ten Tunes, Barner decided to largely ignore genres and infuse the foreign flavors of the Middle East, Spain, and Brazil, liberally adding rock rhythms alongside swinging ones. He’s ably assisted by longtime cohorts Stan Smith (guitar) and Roger Hines (acoustic bass), as well as Brazilian drummer Danny Aguiar. Barner himself sticks entirely with his original instrument, the clarinet, and is an economical, affective and melody-minded player on this disc, allowing his crack guitarist Smith to soar on his solos, and Hines does as well (who shines on tunes like “Charm Offensive” and “Barbaro”). But what I enjoy most about Ten Tunes is Barner’s willingness to take his clarinet to music other clarinet players might not dare go. Songs like “Flying Monkeys,” (Youtube below) “Charm Offensive,” “and “Squeaky Rico” are such a seamless assimilation of styles, it’s often hard to spot the influences. The music, all composed by Barner, is fresh and contemporary without anyone but Smith plugging in, a testament to Barner being so in tune with so many styles of music that he doesn’t need to take any shortcuts.

Barner released Ten Tunes on his own this past January 10. Visit Bill Barner’s website.

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‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron

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