Please help support the Angel City Jazz Festival Kickstarter Campaign. The flagship event is at the Ford Theater in Los Angeles on Oct 7th. Angel City is looking to raise some funds to document this event as KCET backed out at the last minute.
"CHANNELING COLTRANE: A CONCERT VIDEO OF ELECTRIC ASCENSION"
Please help support this Rova:ArtsKickstarter campaign which is hoping to raise funds for a stand alone concert video of a one-time only performance of Electric Ascension at Guelph Jazz Festival in Canada on Sept 7, 2012.
"APPROXIMATELY...NELS CLINE" FILM SCREENING
The 27min film "Approximately...Nels Cline" (by Director Steven Okazaki) screened at the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival on Saturday April 14th at 3PM as part of the "Roots-Rock Gods" program.
OUT NOW: "The Gowanus Session" is a new trio recording from Thollem McDonas (piano), William Parker (bass) and Nels Cline (guitar.) Pre order the CD or digital download now! (Also: limited edition colored vinyl / 500 copies).
Check out Nels giving his rig rundown on this video courtesy of Premier Guitar.
bb&c is an explosive three-headed monster featuring New York City alto saxophonist Tim Berne, downtown drummer Jim Black and the ever-exploring Nels Cline on guitar. Their debut CD The Veil is from a live recording at The Stone in New York City. Combining elements of avant-garde jazz, skronk rock, heavy metal, and other uncategorizabe influences, bb&c is a collaboration between three international jazz pioneers. Nels Cline is popularly known as a member of Wilco, however the New York guitarist has been steadily building an international profile for his genre-defying style for several decades, exploring jazz, avant garde, rock, country and noise with the likes of Thurston Moore, John Zorn, and of course The Nels Cline Singers. Tim Berne's soulful body of work is carving a new musical language which continues to push the boundaries and possibilities of jazz. Virtuosic drummer Jim Black is celebrated worldwide for his limitless technique and innovative concepts. With a highly individual approach to jazz drumming, his style has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes.
Born of a provocative mating of art and music, DIRTY BABY is guitarist/composer Nels Cline and poet/producer David Breskin's visionary recontextualization of Ed Ruscha's "censor strip" paintings. This sumptuous double-CD box set includes more than an hour-and-a-half of new music by Cline for two large ensembles, paired booklets with reproductions of 66 Ruscha pictures, and insightful liner notes by Nels in a third booklet graced by session photos. Supporting musicians include Jon Brion; Nels Cline Singers cohorts Scott Amendola and Devin Hoff; Nels' twin brother Alex Cline; and some of L.A.'s most illustrious instrumentalists and improvisers. Cline's orchestrations offer a panoply of sound and vision: from pedal steel and cigarbox guitars to harmonica, banjo ukulele, violin, cello, saxophone and trumpet, all the way through Cline's mysterious Quintronics Drum Buddy. In both composition and execution, this is a recording of ambition, scope and surprise: it sheds new light (and new sound) on Ruscha's groundbreaking images, and provides a major feast in its own right. Purchase the "Dirty Baby" CD now on indiejazz.com or purchase the hardcover book/CD set at Amazon.com
Recorded in Manhattan in late July of 2009, Floored By Four is the brainchild of Mike Watt and, besides Mr. Watt, includes drummer Dougie Bowne, keyboardist Yuka Honda, and yours truly, Nels. The four compositions on the record are by Mike Watt, and each one bears the name of a member of the group. Three instrumentals, one vocal (by Watt, of course, on "Miss Yuka"), this is a pretty wild record and one that was really fun to make. Recorded by Matt Vertaray and mixed by Matt V. + Yuka Honda, it sounds great, too. The mythic/whimsical cover drawing, depicting each band member as ninja characters, is by Nathaniel Murphy. It represents the only time you will see yours truly wielding a katana...
Recorded in Berkeley (Fantasy Studios) and San Francisco (Cafe Du Nord), this is a heapin' helpin' of The Singers: a studio and a 'live' disc. The studio disc sees us moving into some decidedly different terrain. I actually use my voice (wordlessly) on some tracks, Devin plays bass guitar... All hell has broken loose! There are special guests, even! The studio disc features David Witham and Yuka Honda on keyboards. The 'live' disc features Satomi Matsuzaki, Greg Saunier, and John Dieterich (AKA three fourths of Deerhoof) on percussion (on a blazing and/or totally indulgent version of Weather Report's "Boogie Woogie Waltz"). Produced by David Breskin and recorded and mixed by Ron Saint Germain, this is either the most friendly Singers recording to date or the most antisocial, depending on who you are and what you expect. The package features beautiful photographs of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN by Simon Norfolk throughout (as well as some 'live' shots from the Cafe Du Nord gig by Peak), so all in all you know this is another Cryptogramophone production of visionary packaging excellence. And you might like the music, too.
You can order the CD online now at Indiejazz.com or check out the special BUNDLE offer (w/ CD, shirt & tote bag) here!
VARIOUS ARTISTS - "I Never Meta Guitar (Solo Guitars For The XXI Century)" (Clean Feed Records CD)
This new compilation of contemporary (mostly) solo selections was "curated" and produced by the great Elliott Sharp and includes, besides yours truly (doing a pretty straight solo attempt of a new song called "Hairpin and Hatbox"), the wild and the great, like Jeff Parker, Janet Feder, Brandon Ross, Henry Kaiser, Michael Gregory, Scott Fields, and tons more, including E# himself.
(Stacy Rowles - with painting of "Dad" behind her)
It was quite a shock when I heard late last year of trumpet player Stacy Rowles' death from complications of a car accident. Stacy played on my first record as a leader, "Angelica", in 1987. In the mid-80s, I was playing with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra (West Coast). Initially, Bobby Bradford (along with Oscar Brashear) was in the band's trumpet section, but when Bobby chose to depart, Charlie - wisely, to my mind - chose Stacy to replace him. Why wisely? Because, like Bobby, Stacy had a more intimate, melodic approach which eschewed loud, brassy histrionics. Anyway, she and I instantly became friendly from the first gig she did, which was in San Francisco, as I recall. It didn't hurt that her father, Jimmy Rowles, was and is one of my musical heroes. His piano playing and composing inspire me to this day. Not long after that first LMO gig, my friends Eric Von Essen and Jeff Gauthier went with me to hear Jimmy and Stacy play in some Hollywood hotel lounge (actually, it was practically the lobby). Eric sat in on chromatic harmonica, and it wasn't long after that that Eric became Jimmy's first call bassist. Jeff and I even worked together to produce a CD for the Delos label by Jimmy and Stacy called "Looking Back", with Eric on bass. Collaborations with these three continued for years, until Eric and Jimmy departed this Earth. Now Stacy is gone, too.
Stacy Rowles' trumpet sound was always understated and warm, melodic and relaxed. In this way, she was never going to be "cutting edge" or "intense". Her aesthetic was of the purest jazz sort, informed by the likes of Art Farmer and Thad Jones. I always thought of her as being the trumpet/flugelhorn version of someone like Paul Desmond, all inviting and logical melodic invention infused with alluring tone. As such, I am certain that survival was a struggle for her, as our society does not readily reward such subtlety. Like "Dad" (Jimmy Rowles),Stacy also sang on occasion, her voice an uncanny counterpart to her horn. Stacy Rowles was a fine human and a remarkable, mostly unheralded musician. Seek out her voice in the lexicon of jazz music. It is a voice of timeless warmth and clarity.
So what's happening?? Here is some news, as well as some long-overdue clarification on tidbits mentioned here ages ago. Write this down in your copybooks!...
Please check out the new pages on Facebook & Twitter!
SASSAS/Rod Poole tribute video ("Tributaries") has been released on You Tube.
Check out a video interview w/ Nels for Fender...
RELEASES FOR 2010 OF NOTE, FEATURING YOURS TRULY TO A LARGE EXTENT:
Directed by the estimable Aeght Nign and produced by yours truly, this is the long-overdue document of the duo I do with painter Norton Wisdom. He paints, I improvise. The DVD, filmed at The Smell in Los Angeles, features two full-length performances/improvisations and bonus features, like the amazing "shoulder cam" and "helmet cam" footage of Norton doing his thing, as well as interviews with the duo that is Stained Radiance.
Watch the offical trailer here:
Look for "Stained Radiance" at the Wilco merch table or you can order online here!
ELEVATING DEVICE is a CD from Nels Cline + G.E. Stinson available
Are Active. "Presented as a single an expansive 44-minute
track, Elevating Device is unique look into the electronic rabbit
hole of avant guitar improvisation. Cline and Stinson attack, stab,
sample and soothe their instruments in this one-of-a-kind recording."
EVANGELISTA (Constellation CD)
I played on several tracks on the latest Evangelista record, "Prince Of Truth", and it's another killer from Carla Bozulich and Co. Sporting spectacular sound and beautiful artwork (by NYC painter Jesse McCloskey), this is a great follow-up to "Hello, Voyager" (which is one of my favorite records, if I may feign objectivity). Participants include Ches Smith, Tara Barnes, Dominic Cramp, Shahzad Ismaily, Bobb Bruno, and Jessica Catron, among many others. On Constellation CD and vinyl (the vinyl is insanely beautiful and has extra artwork).
Look for new music from Scarnella (Carla Bozulich and me) this year. The first music to emerge will be on a split vinyl 10" (maybe split with Ken Vandermark) on the Wallace Records label out of Milano (Italy). Stay tuned for release date.
The song is a charming and elegant one about our solar system, meant to inspire participation in the form of visual and musical/sonic contributions from people all over the world. The result is an ever-changing work edited/focused by the web guys, Jared Geller and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This little video is one of three films they made in the week during the Sundance Film Festival to demonstrate their concept. Enjoy!
WADADA LEO SMITH - SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS (Cunieform 2 CD set)
I played on CD 2. CD 1 is an acoustic group, CD 2 is fully electric and at certain points has FOUR GUITARS (!): Brandon Ross, Michael Gregory, me, and Wadada's brother (Lamar) on 2 tracks. What an honor to play with these amazing people. Also in the group are Okkyung Lee, John Lindberg, Skulli Sverisson, Pheeroan AkLaff.
The Celestial Septet is The Nels Cline Singers (Scott Amendola, Devin Hoff, me) + the ROVA Saxophone Quartet (Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams). Recorded in San Francisco, this documents the compositions and improvisations we have been doing the last year or two, and it came out really good, I think. There are pieces by Larry Ochs, Scott Amendola, Steve Adams, and yours truly (called "The Buried Quilt"). There may well be 'live' engagements forthcoming, schedules allowing. Stay tuned.
ON DECK AND AWAITING INSTRUCTIONS:
Here are some recordings that very well might emerge in 2010. At least they are recorded!
MIKE WATT: 3 records recorded so far! When will they emerge?
THE BLACK GANG: reunion record with Bob Lee on drums, Watt, me
BROTHER'S SISTER'S DAUGHTER: recorded in Tokyo last December with Shimizu "Shimmy" Hirotaka, Yuko Araki, Watt, me
(Note: I returned to Tokyo to record ANOTHER Brother's Sister's Daughter record! This will mean there are 4 Watt records I am on still to emerge. And he also recorded The Missingmen last year!...)
SONS OF CHAMPIGNON: Nee "BBC", this is an improvising trio with Tim Berne, Jim Black, me. Recorded 'live' last July at The Stone in NYC. Very intense band... Looking for a home...
JON BRION + NELS CLINE: Nights at the old Largo (real title TBA) - The amazing and industrious Mr. B and I actually got together and selected material from hours of 'live' recordings by Wayne Peet and came up with a strategy/game plan. Now all we have to do is mix, edit, and release the stuff!
'Live' recording from Cafe Metropol (downtown Los Angeles) by The Anthony Shadduck Quartet (Sounds Are Active CD) - Bassist Shadduck + Vinny Golia, Bert Karl, me.
G.E. STINSON/NELS CLINE - a second volume of 2009's "Elevating Device" - It's ready to go: MORE of G.E. and me improvising in our coherent and colorful manner. When will it be out? Who knows!?
I played on NYC singer/songwriter RICHARD JULIAN's record, and who knows what the fate of such things are, but it's a cool collection of songs. I hope it sees the light of day and flourishes...check out Richard's website for more info.
Please note: THE RETRIBUTION GOSPEL CHOIR record I played on (featuring Alan Sparhawk from LOW) was re-recorded. I do not appear on the record. But you should all buy it and listen to it anyway!
ON THE COVER OF JAZZ TIMES!
Nels was featured on
the cover of the Oct 2009 issue of JAZZ TIMES.
You can still read the feature article online here.
Naima's Grass Pajamas is a CD from The Bottesini Project
(feat. Paul Riola) on Creative
Music Works. You can purchase this now on iTunes.
Nels wrote a piece ("A Weakness For Sound: Random
Thoughts on Life as a Sonic Servant") that is featured in the
book Arcana IV: Musicians on Music (Edited by John Zorn
& Published by Hips Road/Tzadik.)
Other contributors to the book include: Derek Bailey, Chris Cutler,
Paul Dresher, Kenneth Gaburo, Shelley Hirsch, Wayne Horvitz, Vijay
Iyer, Gordon Mumma, Matana Roberts, Kathryn Supove and Carolyn Yarnell.
Arcana IV can purchased at Amazon.com.
*R.I.P. SKY SAXON (06.25.09)
I am truly saddened
to learn of the death of Sky
Saxon. As a boy, growing up in Los Angeles, Sky Saxon was my
first rock idol of sorts. The Seeds' music was important to me,
sure, but Sky's amazing charisma, as he appeared rather ubiquitously
on TV shows like "Boss City" and "The Groovy Show"
around 1966, was galvanizing. I would stare in disbelief as he,
clan in shiny satin Nehru shirts bedazzled with some gaudy brooch,
would gyrate around lasciviously, holding the microphone in every
cool way imaginable. He seemed from another planet. I thought he
Years later, in the late 70s, Sky became known as "Sunlight",
and manifested a few eccentric and quite acid-soaked (or so they
sounded) recordings that led credence to the rampant stories of
his decaying mind and artistry. He came into the record store I
worked at for years and, with his face covered in a long mane of
hair, massive beard, and shades, went silently through the stacks
with wraith-like fingers. I was dismayed, a bit freaked out by this
creature, the former beautiful god of rock'n roll otherness.
But only a few years ago, as my friend and colleague Carla
Bozulich and I were going into our local Trader Joe's, we ran
into a bass player friend of mine named Rick who had in tow a gray-haired,
aging hippie type of man with an unavoidably compelling face and
style. Carla, not normally interested in old hippies, immediately
whispered to me, "Who's THAT?!" Of course, you know it
was Sky Saxon. And Rick was playing in the new version of The Seeds,
recording just down the street from Carla's house! Long story short,
I went and hung out a bit, ended up recording a song about a corrupt
judge on the then-upcoming Seeds record (sorry that the titles escape
me today). Sky was really quite deferential to me. Plus, he seemed
to be in quite good shape. He gave me a record, recently issued,
of some of his pre-Seeds 1950s doo-wop-ish rock songs. How old IS
this guy? I wondered.
We ended up doing a duo gig of almost totally improvised music one
night at Zen Sushi.
I was ecstatic. I suggested we call ourselves The Flower Lady &
Her Assistant, but Sky immediately countered with The Flower God
Men and Their Assistants. I had gear problems on the gig, and Sky
had a bit too much sake before we played, but it was amazing to
me. There were barely 30 people there anyway! I started plotting
ways to do some more improvising with him. He was going off in a
very Beat-style manner. I thought of collaborations with my trio,
The Singers, but then Sky went off to more European touring, headed
back to Shasta. Rick moved to New York...
I won't ever be able to do those things with Sky. I feel lucky to
have ever even seen him on TV, yet alone to have played some wild,
extemporaneous psychedelia with him. They say Mick Jagger copped
tons of his moves and style, and I believe it. But there was so
much more to this man that remains to be revealed.