Saturday, July 28, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Nels Cline 4 offers guitar times two

this week, let's take a look at some videos of the Nels Cline 4, who are coming to St. Louis to perform on Friday, August 10 at Delmar Hall. They're on the road for a series of dates in August in support of their album Currents, Constellations, which was released in April on the Blue Note label.

Cline probably is best known these days as a member of alt-rock band Wilco, but he started out playing jazz-fusion as a teenager in the late 1970s, recording and performing in bands with his twin brother, drummer Alex Cline. He subsequently has gone on to work with musicians such as Charlie Haden, Gregg Bendian, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Berne, Vinny Golia, and Julius Hemphill, as well as leading a number of different bands.

In this specific case, the key to the Nels Cline 4 lies in the leader's interactions with fellow guitarist Julian Lage, a headliner in his own right who's often mentioned as one of the top young guitarists in jazz. Lage released nine albums as a leader, and also recorded as a collaborator or sideman with musicians ranging from Gary Burton to John Zorn.

The Nels Cline 4 is result of a friendship formed a few years back between the two guitarists, starting with some duo performances, and eventually leading to a full band. Bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey perform on the record, but on some live dates the group has substituted other musicians such as bassist Jorge Roeder, who's playing on this tour.

Even with some variations in the lineup, the group is able to maintain a cohesive yet adventurous sound, as demonstrated in today's collection of videos, starting up above with a session they did earlier this year in Paste magazine's NYC studio. It includes three tunes from Currents, Constellations: "Imperfect 10," "Amenette" and "River Mouth (Parts 1 & 2)."

After the jump, you can see two additional recent live-in-the-studio performances, "Swing Ghost '59" and "Temporarily," both of which also are on the album.

Next, there's a live set from 2015 at The Stone in NYC, which provides an interesting baseline for comparison to what they're doing now, and an acoustic duo performance by Cline and Lage of a song called "Calder," also recorded in 2015 at the studios of radio station KEXP in Seattle.

Last but not least, you can see a video interview with Cline recorded earlier this year by Guitar Player magazine.

For more about the Nels Cline 4, listen to Cline being interviewed on the first episode of a new podcast called Pedal Fuzz and read the recent DownBeat feature about Cline.

You also can read reviews of live shows in April at Vortex Jazz Club in London and earlier this month in Portland, ME; and check out the reviews of Currents, Constellations in Vintage Guitar magazine, Glide magazine, and Jazz Times.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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