Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

23

Nels Cline and Julian Lage: Room

Paul Naser By

Sign in to view read count
Serious fans of guitar may have heard of both Nels Cline and Julian Lage, but many listeners more likely know only one or the other of these guitar giants. The two innovators have very different styles and sounds. Cline is known primarily for his work with Wilco and Nels Cline Singers, where his compositions function as experimental explorations and push boundaries in many ways; even more so his solo improvisations, which heavily incorporate electronic sounds and unconventional uses of the guitar. Lage, conversely, is known for his technical mastery of the instrument and his very guitar based sound, which some have suggested evoke, aside from the obvious jazz, Americana music such as folk and bluegrass. Lage is also known for being a prodigy, and at just 26 years old is one of the most successful guitarists playing today.

These differences only make their pairing on Room (Mack Avenue, 2014) more exciting to listen to, and although they may have different backgrounds and styles, they are both more than familiar with playing in a duo setting; Cline has played with Vinny Golia, Elliot Sharp and Eric Von Essen, to whom the beautiful "Whipers from Eve" is dedicated, while Lage has played with John Abercrombie, Taylor Eigsti and recently released a highly acclaimed duo recording with Fred Hersch. Their familiarity with the unique demands of such an intimate setting make Room stand out as a highly effective, if somewhat unexpected, pairing.

A mix of Cline originals and collaborative compositions, the exploratory spirit that defines Cline's work is prominent on Room, even though the aesthetic is always just two guitars, electric or acoustic, and no effects. Exemplified by tracks like "Waxman," whose explorations of harmonic colors, timbres and intriguing dissonances is a remarkable sonic journey, and "Racy," with its tightly arranged and percussive lines opening up into freer improvised solos and accompaniment, the musicianship of the two guitarists allows them to take every tune to a number of unexpected and exciting places. It's not just harmonies and textures that the compositions explore either; on tunes like the aptly named "Odd End" odd meters are used as a thematic device and as a source of seemingly endless creative inspiration.

Each track has its own character, but the entire album is permeated by the two guitarists' inventiveness and sensitive accompanying ability. These strengths really stand out in longer tracks such as "The Scent of Light" and "Freesia/The Bond." These tunes showcase the performers' ability to tell a compelling story by supporting and feeding off of each other's ideas. These tunes have some truly beautiful moments, and tracks like the closing "Calder" are dedicated almost entirely to drawing out the remarkably beautiful moments that can come from the guitar duo setting.

Track Listing: Abstract 12; Racy; The Scent of Light; Whispers from Eve; Blues, too; Odd End; Amenette; Freesia/The Bond; Waxman; Calder

Personnel: Nels Cline: Electric and Acoustic Guitar; Julian Lage: Electric and Acoustic Guitar

Title: Room | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Best of / Year End
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Currents, Constellations

Currents,...

Blue Note Records
2018

buy
Lovers

Lovers

Blue Note Records
2016

buy
Room

Room

Mack Avenue Records
2015

buy
Macroscope

Macroscope

Mack Avenue Records
2014

buy
Room

Room

Mack Avenue Records
2014

buy
Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2

Woodstock Sessions,...

Burnside Records
2014

buy
Date Detail Price
Dec29Sat
11:59 pm
Nels Cline, Billy Martin, Skerik, MonoNeon
Sony Hall
New York, NY

Related Articles

Read Without You CD/LP/Track Review
Without You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Internal Combustion CD/LP/Track Review
Internal Combustion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Chant Triptych II CD/LP/Track Review
Chant Triptych II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Oasis CD/LP/Track Review
Oasis
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Les Oiseaux de Matisse CD/LP/Track Review
Les Oiseaux de Matisse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2018
Read Drum Solos For Dancers Only CD/LP/Track Review
Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read "Lebroba" CD/LP/Track Review Lebroba
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2018
Read "Bad Mouthin'" CD/LP/Track Review Bad Mouthin'
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 25, 2018
Read "Under One Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Under One Moon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Bright Force" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat
by Doug Collette
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "This World of Dew" CD/LP/Track Review This World of Dew
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 27, 2018