3 and 1/2 stars.
Hide the kids. Put the cat outside. Make sure that all spouses who tend to have jangled nerves are otherwise occupied and well out of the house. Not only is the great jazz alto saxophone avant-gardist Tim Berne back in a July 2009 live recording from John Zorn's the Store, but he has, in drummer Jim Black and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, some of the most congenial company he's had since he traveled around with drummer Joey Baron and cellist Hank Roberts. Back in his primordial incarnation, Berne emerged from the influence of the legendary Julius Hemphill but he has since turned into one of the most creative -- and most satisfying -- musicians the jazz avant-garde ever had. There's even something impressive about the disc package here, a mysteriously artistic booklike triple cardboard thing with the group photographed in blurred motion. While it's divided into cuts, it was mostly two continuous improvised performances from musicians who have no fear of going into simultaneous improvisation that might scare other musicians back to law school. The kind of meeting of minds that both jazz and bands like Wilco need. -Jeff Simon