Born January 4, 1956, in Los Angeles, Alex Cline began playing the drums at age eleven, first in rock bands with his twin brother, guitarist Nels Cline, then, as his interests and experience expanded, in numerous musical situations. Alex's interest in a larger sonic vocabulary caused him to gather a large family of percussion instruments which he has been heard playing mainly in the "jazz" and "new Music"genres. After beginning a musical association with woodwind artist Jamil Shabaka in 1976 as Duo Infinity, Alex's musical activities began to flourish. In 1977 Alex became a member of Vinny Golia's group as well as the Julius Hemphill Trio (which toured Europe and recorded that year), he formed the electric improvisational trio Spiral, and began performnig solo percussion concerts.
Since that time Alex Cline has performed and/or recorded with numerous musical artists. See Performance Credits and Selected Discography. His musical pursuits have taken him all over the United States, Europe, and Canada, including appearances at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, the Netherlands' the Du Maurier International Jazz Festival in Vancouver, B.C., Canada (twice); the Lucerne Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland, and jazz festivals of Willisau, Switzerland; Saalfelden, Austria; Nickelsdorff, Austria; Hofheim, Germany (twice); ris-oragges, France; Milan, Italy (twice) and Ljubljana, Yugoslavia.
In 1979, Alex, Nels Cline, Eric Von Essen and Jeff Gauthier formed Quartet Music, a group that enjoyed continued success in its performances and four recordings over an eleven-year period and was awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. Several of Alex's compositions were performed and recorded by this ensemble. In summer 1989 Quartet Music performed its music for two consecutive evenings together with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Alex has served as composer and/or performed for numerous modern dancers and dance companies in Los Angeles, including Margaret Schuette, Linda Fowler, the Momenty Company (for whom he served as music director for their "SoundSpace concerts), Dance/LA, the UCLA Dance Com pany, and currently, Open Gate Theatre (a dance-music-theater ensemboe led by dancer/musician Will Salmon). He has worked on film soundtracks (featured prominently in such films as Umbrella, the Being, Blood and Contrete:A Love Story, Trouble Bound, The Serpent's Lair, and Small Time), been heard in televison soundtracks, done numerous sound workshops and percussion clinics plus lecture/demonstrations on one of Alex's primary areas of interest and study, Asian metal percussion instruments, particularly the singing bowls of Tibet.
In 1987, Alex recorded his first album as a bandleader-composer entitled The Lamp and The Star. He is now concertizing with his own ensemble, the core of which can be heard on the album (ECM1372). In 1992, this ensemble recorded their second album, Montsalvat, released in January 1996 on the 9Winds label. The latest release by the Alex Cline Ensemble is Sparks Fly Upward, released 1999, produced by Peter Erskine.