Amazon.com Widgets

The Nels Cline Singers: Instrumentals (2002)

By Published: | 8,496 views
The Nels Cline Singers: Instrumentals How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

From the opening notes of Instrumentals, it rapidly becomes clear that the (entirely vocal-free) Nels Cline Singers are out to make some noise. Guitarist Nels Cline, who has eagerly straddled the divide between jazz and rock, maintains an open ear for dissonance—and this is a big reason he's received such broad recognition. "A Mug Like Mine" takes a nine-minute voyage into the higher-order melodies, harmonies and rhythms of energy music, an opening salvo announcing things to come.

But like always, Cline remains unpredictable. As the record moves on, he occupies territory as diverse as the Hendrix-informed blues of "Lowered Boom" and the sustained lyricism of "Lucia." This trio is far more than a one-man band (as is especially obvious on the fourth tune), though Cline retains a steady hand at the helm. The guitarist plies his obvious understanding of the jazz (and especially free jazz) traditions within a fresh context, bringing a warm richness of color to these nine compositions. He may thrash away on the punk anthem "Cause for Concern," but tucked away in and around the pounding themes are some deliciously unexpected forays into guitar sophistication. Tuck Cline away with guitar greats Blood Ulmer and Sonny Sharrock: his uncanny ability to unite seemingly disparate styles marks him as an iconoclast and a visionary.

Jazz fans without an ear open to rock rhythms, energy music, or punk sensibility will almost certainly fail to appreciate what the Nels Cline Singers have done on Instrumentals. But Cline doesn't really care about that. His music is a defining statement of identity, a cry from the heart without pretense or ambiguity. For the open-minded, this record will stack up as one of the very best of the year. It's deep, exciting, and viscerally satisfying.

Visit Cryptogramophone Records on the web.

Track Listing: A Mug Like Mine; Cause for Concern; Suspended Head; Harbor Child; Lowered Boom; Lucia; Ghost of the Pinata; Blood Drawing; Slipped Away.

Personnel: Devin Hoff: bass; Scott Amendola: drums, percussion, loops, live effects/processing; Nels Cline: electric, 6, 12-string, and baritone guitars.

Record Label: Cryptogramophone

Style: Fringes of Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.