The Nels Cline Singers: Share The Wealth

Mike Jurkovic By

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The Nels Cline Singers: Share The Wealth
A work of pummeling beauty, exhaustion and exhilaration await at the end of genre rogue guitarist Nels Cline's upheaval Share the Wealth, eighty minutes of magical, maniacal, free jam composition that, in perhaps a few more years down the line—if the line makes it past Election Day—we'll argue stands right up there with such and such album of equal fire and fury.

Time, to which we've become too nervously accustomed, is tense, and everyone's cranked to ten or whatever equivalent degree of volume runs into the red these agitated days. Which makes this such a joy ride for Cline and his relentlessly subversive singers: punk jazz saxophonist Skerik, keyboardist Brian Marsella, bassist Trevor Dunn the brawny, tenacious backbeat of drummer Scott Amendola and Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista. Even if you never get past the rapacious opener, "Segunda," Caetano Veloso's ode to the Brazilian working man turned so entirely on its pretty little head it can break your balance and leave you in awe as the track rushes by on a dark, antic drone, a backdrop to the frenzied dogfight between Cline and Skerik. It's override ten squared and then some. And it's only six plus minutes long.

So, by the time you reach the shifting tectonics of the defiant and defining, seventeen minute epic centerpiece of Share the Wealth, "Stump the Panel," you've had no other choice but to hold your hat and pursue the wildly elusive dynamics of "Beam/Spiral." Rising from the mists into being innocently enough like one of those great, dreamy Pat Metheny songs of the late 70's and early 80's, before going full stadium-sized rock and roll urgent muscle. Then the spine breaks forward to "Nightstand," an ambient ballad that touches upon all sextet's atmospheres.

Then "Stump the Panel," a dinosaur sized studio improv that doubles down and double dares you not to surrender your soul to its sure, sheer force. Think early Weather Report or any of Miles Davis' early 70's live expeditions again, cranked to ten and beyond, challenging all your muscle memory and expectations. Marsella's madly ecstatic Rhodes runs rampant over a frenzied punk/funk groove, courtesy of Dunn and Amendola. Cline's no slouch himself here, slicing, dicing, and shredding with damn near perverted glee. Then, from what Cline admits was a lengthier jam, "The Pleather Patrol" is given broad depth with Amendola's rock insistent, in-the-pocket 4/4, with Dunn doing spot-on Bootsy Collins, pounding its clamorous way into there ambient swirl and eminent cacophony of "A Place On the Moon." Stimulus check or no stimulus check, you owe yourself this one. Anyone with an ear for this amazing form of spontaneous combustion does.

Track Listing

Segunda; Beam/Spiral; Nightstand; Stump the Panel; Headdress; Princess Phone; The Pleather Patrol; Ashcan Treasure; A Place on The Moon; Passed Down.


Nels Cline: guitar, electric; Skerik: saxophone; Trevor Dunn: bass; Scott Amendola: drums; Brian Marsella: piano; Cyro Baptista: percussion.

Album information

Title: Share the Wealth | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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