Artist Details

Tim Berne

Alto and baritone saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Tim Berne was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1954, and purchased his first alto saxophone while attending Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. A fan of R&B and Motown music, he was not particularly interested in jazz until he heard saxophonist Julius Hemphill's album Dogon A.D. Inspired by Hemphill's ability to project R&B soulfulness in a creative jazz context, Berne traveled to New York City in 1974 and located the saxophonist. Berne took saxophone lessons from Hemphill and also became involved in managing the elder musician's rather infrequent concert appearances. A mentor-apprentice relationship evolved, providing Berne encouragement for his musical endeavors as well as lessons in how to operate independently. Hemphill, founder of the World Saxophone Quartet and a major figure in the 1970s New York loft jazz scene, died in 1995 leaving a considerable imprint on creative music but arguably with his greatest promise unfulfilled. To this day, Berne cites Hemphill as a significant and continuing influence on his work.