Home » Jazz Articles » Nels Cline: New Monastery: A View Into The Music of Andrew Hill

317
Album Review

Nels Cline: New Monastery: A View Into The Music of Andrew Hill

By

Sign in to view read count
Nels Cline: New Monastery: A View Into The Music of Andrew Hill
In his liner notes, Nels Cline claims that New Monastery is not a tribute record to iconic pianist Andrew Hill, but merely one view of the rich potential found in his multifaceted compositions. The guitarist assembled an unusual sextet to explore the bittersweet and occasionally turbulent world of Hill's music. Accordionist Andrea Parkins, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and cornetist Bobby Bradford were recruited to join Cline's ironically named trio with bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola, the Nels Cline Singers, to revisit these classics.

Opening with one of many medleys, Cline blends the ruminative "McNeil Island" with the spirited momentum of "Pumpkin," spotlighting Bradford's deft cornet pronouncements. Half the tunes are arranged as such, blending similarly themed pieces together without ever leaving their core attributes behind. The loose swing of "Yokada Yokada" is infused with boisterous energy courtesy of a deconstructed variation on "The Rumproller," featuring Cline's infectious, distorted lead guitar. Delivered with genial swing, "Reconciliation/New Monastery" reveals the group's euphonious side. The album's epic centerpiece, "No Doubt/11/8/Dance With Death," is an expansive journey from tumultuous invention to introspective reflection.

Of the singular tunes, "Dedication" is the most traditional, with restrained, lyrical excursions from Cline, Bradford and Goldberg. "Not Sa So Sa" maintains the original's unruly angularity. "Compulsion," the invigorating finale, opens with Cline and Parkins weaving waves of feedback and noise into pure sheets of sound. Amendola's fiery trap work modulates into a stalwart tribal groove backing Bradford's righteous variations and Goldberg's angular contra-alto clarinet. The ensemble regroups before the coda, reminding one just how futuristic Hill's music can be, in the right hands.

This unconventional lineup is a marvel; the rhythm section is harmonious and insightful, providing resourceful support to the unique front line. Andrea Parkins' electric accordion unleashes unorthodox textures, while Goldberg alternates between clarinet and contra-alto clarinet with remarkable fluidity. With a gorgeous, weathered timbre, Bradford is the session's unspoken MVP. Years of experience have given him a distinctive tone and utterly singular phrasing.

Cline never dominates the session, but when he does step out, he does it with wide-ranging veracity. His blistering assault on "Compulsion" is the album's most intense statement, while his tender lyricism on "Dedication" is the inverse, beautifully restrained.

Hill's writing is far removed from the standard head-solo-head format and conventional chord changes employed by many of his post-war contemporaries. His reliance on melodic structure and varied dynamics enable musicians as forward-thinking as Cline to find their own way through these structures. New Monastery is more than a tribute to a fantastic composer, it is a reminder of the timelessness of great music.

Track Listing

McNeil Island/Pumpkin; Not Sa No Sa; No Doubt/11/8/Dance With Death; Yokada Yokada/The Rumproller; Dedication; Reconciliation/New Monastery; Compulsion.

Personnel

Nels Cline: guitar, effects; Bobby Bradford: cornet; Ben Goldberg: clarinet, contra-alto clarinet; Andrea Parkins: electric accordion, effects; Devin Hoff: contrabass; Scott Amendola: drums, percussion; Alex Cline: percussion (5,7).

Album information

Title: New Monastery: A View Into The Music Of Andrew Hill | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

The Way of the Groove
Ben Patterson
Incorporated
Skopje Jazz Inc.
Times Like These
Nica Carrington

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.