Nels Cline

Nels Cline electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Nels Cline is one of the most versatile, imaginative, and criminally unheralded guitarists active today, a dubious distinction he shares with Christy Doran, James Emery, and a handful of others. Combining jaw-dropping chops with a keen musical intelligence, Cline displays an encyclopedic mastery of guitar styles that encompasses delicate lyricism, sonic abstractions, and skull-crunching metallic flights.
In the late 1970s, Cline played in the chamber-jazz group Quartet Music with his brother, percussionist Alex Cline, Jeff Gauthier and Eric von Essen. He emerged from several years in relative obscurity with his 1987 release, Angelica, which added acid-toned New York City altoist Tim Berne to a roster of longtime Cline collaborators. In the early 1990s, the guitarist formed the amped-up Nels Cline Trio, perhaps the best vehicle to date for Cline’s guitar excursions, which range from probing, reflective balladry to knotty riffing to bracing freeform assaults. In addition to his trio, Cline regularly performs with his brother and the constellation of creative musicians associated with reedsman Vinny Golia’s adventurous Nine Winds record label.
He is also active in the rock domain, collaborating with ex-Minuteman Mike Watt, avant country-rockers Geraldine Fibbers, and Sonic Youth guitar terrorist Thurston Moore, among others.

    Nels Cline plays in

  • Smoke Inside
  • Duo Milano
  • Vignes

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