The NELS CLINE SINGERS – ” Share The Wealth “

Posted: January 2, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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A casual scan of Nels Cline’s dizzying discography echoes this – spanning lead guitar duties in iconic Chicago rock band Wilco, to over 200 recordings across alternative, punk and jazz. While accolades have been plenty (Rolling Stone once hailed him as one of its 20 “new guitar gods”), Nels Cline has hardly had time to rest on his laurels with various projects fuelling his flair for genre-bending.

“Share The Wealth”, his latest Blue Note Records outing with long-time band The Nels Cline Singers, is no exception.

Well Nels Cline does it again. The man just doesn’t miss. This 10-track, almost 80-minute album is a tour de force. Nels brought in a bunch of heavy hitters for this effort: Skerik on saxophone, Brian Marsella on keys, Trevor Dunn on bass, Scott Amendola on drums, and Cyro Baptista on percussion. The talent oozing out of this record is palpable. They never step on one another and each musician is given room to do damage as the music ebbs and flows between quietness and rowdiness. Nels brought this group together as an experiment and decided he liked the jams so much that he didn’t really want to mess with them as originally intended to do by picking pieces of the jams apart to make a different sonic landscape.

So here we have this behemoth of a jazz record that just pulls you in and never lets go. From the opening notes of “Segunda” to the ending of “Passed Down” you just have to strap in and go for the ride. “Beam/Spiral” really sets for taking off into outer space around the five-minute mark. “Stump the Panel” is a 17-minute excursion that will leave your jaw dropped. Each member of the band really goes for it, with Skerik and Brian battling it out in the first half before a dip in the action leads to a beautiful quieter portion until it turns into what sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. “Princess Phone”, “The Pleather Patrol”, and “Headdress” all sound like music from outer space coming to take over the land.

Listening to Nels go from quiet background player to upfront shred fest to psychedelic slides to ambient noises all from the same instrument throughout the record hurts my brain. The man just does so much with one instrument. Please listen to this one on some good headphones.

Blue Note Records; under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Released on: 13th November 2020.

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