Nels Cline Singers: Initiate

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Nels Cline Singers
LABELS: Initiate
WORKS: Initiate
PERFORMER: Nels Cline (guitars), Devin Hoff (bass), Scott Amendola (percusssion), and other musicians
CATALOGUE NO: cg143

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The confusingly-named Singers (despite the occasional use of vocal textures, don’t expect an album of singing) have a wide stylistic range: the opening track on CD1 evokes classic-period Soft Machine, the second mid-’70s Miles Davis, then comes ‘Divining’, an elegant, almost pastoral piece of mainstream post-bop.

‘You Noticed’ might almost be a piece of Bill Frisell Americana. ‘Red Line To Greenland’ harks back to pioneer electronica/musique concrète. And so it goes. This listing of allusions should not be taken to suggest that Cline’s music is a derivative ragbag of influences, though.

Few bands essay such varied material with the Singers’ panache and conviction, producing such adventurous and satisfying music.

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CD1 was recorded in the studio, CD2 captured live in San Francisco. Both sessions are equally exciting and immediate. The live set, which cleaves closer to a jazzers’ expectations, has the exceptional treat of Carla Bley’s beautiful, rarely-performed ‘And Now The Queen’. Barry Witherden