Friday, March 11, 2005

NELS CLINE SINGS AND SHREDS

Finally, one of my favorite musicians is getting some recognition after years of obscurity. Nels Cline's public profile has risen exponentially since he became the new guitar player for Wilco, including a new cover profile in Guitar Player magazine. At first it seemed an odd move--his brand of avant noise jazz seemed a world away from Wilco's more song oriented structures. But Jeff Tweedy and Co. have been moving in a more experimental direction in the last few years and Nels' earlier work with Mike Watt showed he could rock with the best of them.

His own band, the ironically named Nels Cline Singers, have a new (instrumental) disc, The Giant Pin, that has just come to my attention. Only Nels (with his cohorts Scott Amendola and Devin Hoff) could segue from intricate bebop lines to bone crushing metallic skronk to beautiful ballads. I saw this group a few years ago in a small rock club (the late lamented Vista Del Mar in Eureka) and they seemed equally at home with the work of Thelonious Monk and Sonic Youth.

Try a sample and see what you think......