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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thollem McDonas / Michael Wimberly / Nels Cline: Radical Empathy

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Radical Empathy is the second in a series of three musical encounters between keyboardist and musical instigator Thollem McDonas and multi-disciplinary guitar whiz Nels Cline. The first collaboration, titled simply The Gowanus Session (Porter Records, 2008), featured bassist William Parker and was notable for its resolute resistance to free jazz cliché. Uncannily, it found Cline, McDonas, and Parker, with virtually no advance preparation, on very much the same page. Instead of the expected improvisational pyrotechnics (though, with three virtuosos in ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville 2015, Part 2

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Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada May 16-17, 2015 Part 1 | Part 2 The site of the Pavilion Arthabaska, a chalet on a hill above the town, is a popular spot in Victoriaville (think lookout and make out), not a place that is obvious for avant-garde music, but the room featured some of the best shows of the festival. The sound in the room was impeccable, perfect for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nels Cline and Julian Lage: Room

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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 The 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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Nels Cline Singers: Macroscope

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Macroscope is a first for guitarist Nels Cline's ironically named band, The Nels Cline Singers, in more ways than one. The group's four previous albums were released by the notoriously adventurous Cryptogramophone label, so it is somewhat surprising to see the amplified power trio's latest endeavor issued by the relatively mainstream Mack Avenue imprint. More importantly, it is the first recording to feature Trevor Dunn in place of original bassist Devin Hoff, and although it is a novel detail, The ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Medeski, Martin & Wood + Nels Cline: Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2

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In retrospect, it was inevitable; why it took so long for veteran jazz jam band Medeski, Martin & Wood to get together with Nels Cline is anybody's guess. The über-guitarist has, since joining Wilco a decade ago, managed to significantly raise his visibility, but anybody who suggests that he's been “moonlighting" in the alt-country/alt-rock/alt-alt band to pay the rent hasn't been paying attention. Like keyboardist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood, Cline's career has been largely associated ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Nels Cline Singers: Macroscope

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With the release of this album by The Nels Cline Singers, Detroit's Mack Avenue Records takes a bold leap into the outer fringes of jazz. Their impressive slate of artists already included the likes of Kenny Garrett, Sean Jones and Christian McBride, who are open to pushing jazz boundaries, but the label had no one who goes as far afield as guitarist Cline. In fact, it's probably best to think of Cline, whether leading the Singers or any of his ...

INTERVIEWS

Nels Cline: Finding Others

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Ask 10 people when they first heard of guitarist Nels Cline and you'll get 10 different answers. Maybe it was when he joined award-winning, arena-packing, ever-touring rock band Wilco. Or maybe it was stumbling upon a guitar internet forum where nerd boys and girls go over the minutiae of his expansive and varied effect pedals, amps, and guitars. Or it could have been hearing his critically acclaimed The Giant Pin (Cryptogramophone, 2004) with his group, the Nels Cline Singers (even ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne / Jim Black / Nels Cline: The Veil

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Recorded live at The Stone in New York City on a sweltering July evening in 2009, The Veil is the debut of BB&C (also known as The Sons of Champignon), an acronym for alto saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Jim Black and guitarist Nels Cline--veteran improvisers with a long history of collaboration. Cline first recorded with Berne in the early '80s, while Black was a member of Berne's revered '90s era Bloodcount quartet. Unfolding as a single uninterrupted long-form improvisation and ...


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