During his time on Columbia Records in the mid 1980s, saxophonist Tim Berne was introduced to visual artist and graphic designer Steve Byram. Byram had already gained notice for his album art, particularly for the European jazz/avant label JMT and the Beastie Boys’ classic Licensed to Ill. A review of Byram’s work in Eye Magazine described his style thusly: “His illustrations are messy, sprawling, some-times tentative and at other times explosively confident. His typography is obsessive but rarely conventionally neat.” Byram and Berne hit it off immediately, their explosive aesthetics proving a strong match. Since 1987, Byram has done album art for almost all of Berne’s work, as well as for Berne’s peers and collaborators including Craig Taborn, Django Bates, and Drew Gress.
This Monday, January 7, Berne and Byram will celebrate their three-plus decade collaboration with the opening of their art exhibition Old & Unwise at The Jazz Gallery. The exhibition features drawings by Byram and photographs by Berne and is based on a series of images compiled for their 2015 art book, Spare. Byram’s drawing are composed digitally from an assortment of source drawings—or “spare parts”—while Berne’s photographs were taken during his spare time while on tour. To celebrate the exhibition opening, Berne will perform brand new music with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Dave King.
The exhibition Old & Unwise opens at The Jazz Gallery on Monday, January 7, 2019. The exhibition features drawings by Steve Byram and photographs by Tim Berne. Doors open at 6:30 P.M. Mr. Berne will perform with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Dave King at 7:30 P.M. Free and open to the public.