Jazz,  Rock

Nels Cline Singers: Draw Breath

Many people heard of Nels Cline for the first time when he accepted Jeff Tweedy’s offer to become Wilco’s new lead guitarist in 2004. But Nels’ stature in the improvisational music community was already well established. One of his ongoing side projects (I guess you’d call it) is the Nels Cline Singers – a misleading moniker if there ever was one because, well, ain’t much singing goin’ on in the Nels Cline Singers. What the Singers do is assault the listener with sounds you don’t often hear emanating from a guitar, a bass, and a drum kit. Accompanying Nels’ guitar is Devin Hoff on stand-up bass, and Scott Amendola on drums and assorted electronic gizmos.

These aren’t carefully crafted pop songs. These are wild, spontaneous, very in-the-moment improvisational pieces that range from 3 to 16 minutes.

If you want to explore the outreaches of your musical horizons, and hear Wilco’s guitarist completely unrestrained and in his element, pick up Draw Breath, the new CD from the Nels Cline Singers. This one is the most rock-oriented of the bunch.

Nels Cline Singers Confection (mp3)

One Comment

  • Cam

    Thanks Pete. To state what I think is obvious: free jazz must be seen to be truly appreciated, ideally live, in the moment. I enjoy watching the artists assault their instruments to create, as you accurately put it, those “sounds you don’t often hear emanating from a guitar, a bass, and a drum kit” – or whatever they happen to pick up on stage!

    I did enjoy this, though, especially Nels’ solo around 2:40.

    That band name has mislead many a fan of vocals, to be sure. Last time Nels Cline Singers came through Toronto my roommate met a fellow at the show who knew nothing of the band & was there for the voices. He left 5 minutes after they started.

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