Nels Cline: Reconciliation / New Monastery


Reconciliation / New Monastery


Nels Cline (guitar)


New Monastery: A View into the Music of Andrew Hill (Cryptogramophon 130)

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Nels Cline (guitar),

Bobby Bradford (cornet), Ben Goldberg (clarinet), Andrew Parkins (accordion), Devin Hoff (bass), Scott Amendola (drums), Alex Cline (percussion)


Composed by Andrew Hill


Recorded: February 3-4, 2006


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Today, Nels Cline is best known for touring the world with Wilco, Chicago's (and America's) finest rock 'n' roll band. But even while tearing it up in Madison Square Garden, he's an avant-garde jazz musician through and through, opting for dense layers of sound and creative rhythmic groupings while improvising with the band. When physically located in the jazz world, his regular group is the Nels Cline Singers, an instrumental outfit consisting of Cline, bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola, often supplemented by a revolving door of free jazz musicians adding textures to the ever-improvising trio.

In 2006, Cline entered the studio with his regular Singers rhythm section plus four (cornet, clarinet, accordion and percussion) to record several Andrew Hill compositions. It's a brilliant musical statement, both in the emergence of Hill as a more-than-worthy subject of a recorded musical tribute, and the perfect sense it makes in examining Cline's inquisitive musical world. The arrangements are thoughtfully first-rate, with Cline often combining more than one Hill composition per track, as here with "Reconciliation" (from Hill's Judgment!) and "New Monastery" (from Hill's Point of Departure). Cline alternates periods of handling melodies himself, as with "Reconciliation," and creating fascinating trading/layering sections between himself and his unusual cohort of cornet, clarinet and accordion (Andrew Hill's own first instrument). The careful layering achieves Hill's dense chordal construction, and, as evidenced in the second half of this track, Cline can choose between adding his guitar to those layers or improvising on top of them. A fitting tribute that enhances the reputation of both the honored and the honoree.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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