18 September 2006

HYPE!- Nels Cline 'Covers' Andrew Hill

Here is a good bet musically - due to be released 9/26/06. Ratliff is right (below) about Andrew Hill as player & composer. Nels Cline plays guitar for Wilco which is among my favorite bands. The instrumentation (guitar, accordian, clarinet & cornet) is off-kilter & extremely cool. And, although I do not know the other musiciains in the sextet, Bobby Bradford is an amazing trumpeter. So it seems like a can't miss CD. Here is a pre-release review from yesterday's New York Times.

Nels Cline. "New Monastery: A View into the Music of Andrew Hill" (Cryptogramophone)

The compositions of Andrew Hill, one of the best composers in the last 50 years of jazz, don’t glow with the recognizable style of a certain time. They use unusual harmonies and can sometimes seem to be missing the proper signposts. Nobody performs them as effectively as his own groups, with Mr. Hill on piano. Not even close.

But the guitarist Nels Cline has taken up the challenge; "New Monastery" is a learned and original try. Mr. Cline, who has become more widely known since joining the rock band Wilco two years ago, has a long background in West Coast jazz and experimental music.

He is a fast, articulate player, and no slouch on soloing through chord changes, as his version of Mr. Hill’s "Reconciliation" proves. He dislodges the melodies from these pieces, bringing them forward with the clarinetist Ben Goldberg, the cornetist Bobby Bradford and the accordionist Andrea Parkins. Mr. Hill’s music can be soft and mumbly, but Mr. Cline forces immediacy on it, and frequently leaps beyond a standard jazz guitarist’s tone. He distorts his instrument for stabbing, notated chords during someone else’s solo; he broadens his tone, putting little rips in it, sounding like Mr. Bradford; he plays a line through a digital processor and repeats it, moving the pitch up and down or making it warp and shimmer.

Instead of a pianist the group uses Ms. Parkins on accordion, improvising with fractured aggression. Most of these pieces come from Mr. Hill’s mid-1960’s records on Blue Note. With the exception of Mr. Bradford, who was playing semi-free jazz like this in the early 60’s, and the occasional Eric Dolphy echo from Mr. Goldberg’s bass clarinet, the band doesn’t evoke the old records. Mr. Cline can be a fiddly, punctilious musician, even when building clouds of noise in a free improvisation, or when soloing in blues form on "The Rumproller"; it’s helps him remake the music in his own way. -Ben Ratliff

PS: It is perhaps helpful for me to mention what has gotten hold of me on this post. So here is some history. The cover photo on Cline's upcoming release is a detail of this image that appeared on the cover of Andrew Hill's Point of Departure . That record was was releasd in 1964; it is the best of five very good albums Hill released on Blue Note Records in a roughly 18 month period. It also is among the very first jazz records I ever bought (well after it was released - I am not quite that old!). It helped me to establish some continuuity between the wonderful creativity of Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis from the 1950s (which I loved) and the music I was starting to listen to from, say, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Air, and the World Saxophone Quartet. So, there you have it!

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Blogger Joerg said...

"Point of Departure" is such a good album! - I love Hill's piano along with Dolphy's various instruments...

02 May, 2007 21:54  

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