Tim Berne is a Brooklyn-based alto saxophonist and composer, influenced chiefly by the late, great Julius Hemphill, who’s been one of the leading lights of jazz’s outer limits. But on The Sevens, his role is primarily one of composer, writing for a saxophone quartet and two guitarists. When some people here "jazz musician as composer," they assume "ah, this is Tim B’s classical gambit," but such is not the case. Third Stream, maybe - there’s classical discipline(s) and plenty of counterpoint and contrapuntal writing but the inspiration and rhythmic impetus behind the music is jazz. There’s a very rhythmic, Ralph Towner-meets-Phillip Glass-meets-Bo Diddley piece ("Tonguefarmer") and a moody sax quartet number with echoes of Bernard Herrmann, Beethoven and Ibert. Moods are elegantly kaleidoscopic and amiably fractured, the playing impeccable and focused, and Berne gets to wail ‘n’ kick out the alto jams on one tune ("Quicksand"). 7s = brainy, mercurial, engaging.