All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Glaring expressionism coupled with rip-roaring layers of acoustic-electric sound-sculpting maneuvers yield the bountiful fruit on this manifold studio date. When guitarist Nels Cline isn't tearing it up with the popular alt-rock band Wilco, he's knee-deep in progressive-jazz, free-form experimental and jazz-rock formats. He's catapulted to the upper echelon of modern guitarists, paralleling the colossal faculties of bassist William Parker and pianist Thollem McDonas.
Parker has been a perennial driving force behind the reshaping of jazz along with the improvisational paradigms that follow, and generates a propulsive yet, at times, pensive undertow on the sixteen-minute "Lives." As McDonas kicks it off with a loosely organized series of trickling ethereal notes, insinuating a spiritual perimeter of sorts.
The artists align their wares via a feeling out process, energized by Cline's note-bending exercises and strings scraping techniques, leading to a spiraling improvisational fest, designed with overlapping statements and intense three-way conversations. Lucid imagery remains a continuum as the trio's linear onslaughts intimate harrowing backdrops, abetted by Parker's creaky and ominously designed phrasings
"Lives" vividly mimics the human condition for all of its ups and downs, while showcasing this trio's striking creativity and soul-probing modalities.
Personnel: Thollem McDonas: piano; William Parker: bass; Nels Cline: electric guitar.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.