Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 108

N

els Cline has quite
the musical resumé,
and yet has always
been hard to pin down.
Whether doing some
form of fusion, manning
the lead-guitar chair in
Wilco, or serving up
dissonance and sound
in various solo projects,
he never can be pigeonholed.
Now, there's this
latest - a very ambitious
project that, according
to his liner notes, was 25
years in the making. It
was well worth the wait.
The two discs that
make up this record are
full of music that can be
described in a lot of ways
- jazz, chamber jazz,
orchestral jazz, and mood
music are just some
starting points. But taken
as a whole, it's really just
a feast that allows Cline
to showcase his virtuosity and inventiveness.
Take "Glad To Be
Unhappy," a chestnut
written by Richard
Rodgers and Lorenzo
Hart that features a

	

glorious string arrangement and Cline showing
he has more than a
passing familiarity with
traditional jazz-guitar
playing. He uses octaves,

Nels Cline
Lovers

darting notes, and runs
that are never clichéd.
The arrangements
are done by Michael
Leonhart, revealing new
treasures with every
listen. For instance, the
dramatic take on "It Only
Has To Happen Once"
features a gorgeous
string intro before Cline
takes over. The song
ends up sounding like a
long-lost Tom Waits track
with stunning lead guitar.

VINTAGE GUITAR	

108	 February 2017

Nancy Wright

Playdate!

The ubiquitous
s a xophon i s t of
the San Francisco
blues scene for
30 years, Nancy
Wright finally stepped to the fore and
released her solo debut in 2009 - a fine
instrumental outing in a Blue Note jazz
vein.
On her third offering, the type of seasoning that comes from decades of "sideman"
and bandmate work (recording with the
likes of Little Charlie and the Nightcats
and B.B. King) shows in her authoritative
playing, singing, writing, and choice of
covers.
She is joined by a formidable cast of past
and present associates. In just the guitar
department, we have Elvin Bishop, Joe
Louis Walker, Mighty Mike Schermer,
Chris Cain, Tommy Castro, and producer
Kid Andersen. The latter soaks his licks
in swirling vibrato in tribute to Wright's
friend, the late Lonnie Mack, on the gospel
tune "Satisfied," complete with the Plymouth Church of Jazz and Justice Choir.
Bishop trades slide licks with Wright's
big-toned tenor on an instrumental treatment of Big Jay McNeely's classic "There
Is Something On Your Mind," while
Schermer shines on the jump blues "Back
Room Rock."

Nels Cline: Nathan West.

BLUE NOTES AND
SO MUCH MORE

As you'd expect,
there's plenty of fine
single-line playing by
Cline, but he also proves
adept at some jazz-based
chord work. His intro to
"The Bed We Made" is
perfect and leads into
a light swing feel and
some monster soloing.
Blues roots are
featured on "Cry Want"
where his single-line
blues opens things
before the rhythm section kicks in. The song
also lets him vent at the
end, and the listener
is treated to sweeps,
flourishes, harmonics,
whammy bar trickery,
volume swells, and
much more. The song
then goes out with more
blues notes that form a
bookend with the intro.
Cline's first effort for
Blue Note Records is a
unique, wonderful record, especially for a guy
from a major rock band.
In his liner notes,
Cline says he felt that
the record was an
homage to Jim Hall. He
wanted to play it for
him, but the legendary
guitarist passed away
the day they finished
recording. Don't worry,
Nels, Jim would have
loved it. - John Heidt

So what does a uke jam session sound
like? Sort of like Hendrix a la Band of
Gypsys.
Shimabukuro is endlessly creative.
Tunes such as "6/8" ride atop a jazzy
rhythm line with Verner's very electric
bass setting the momentum, which is then
augmented by Hutchings' syncopations.
Initially, Shimabukuro plays wonderfully
acoustic fingerpicking before going electric with a spacey tone. And you'll quickly
realize this isn't your typical uke record.
That's reinforced on "Man Of Mud"
with its lowdown - and very electric -
power-chord backing. His lead lines are
run through an array of effects that would
make Jimi jealous.
If you had any doubt about the uke as
a serious instrument, Shimabukuro will
change your mind. Throughout this album, he excels on tenor, baritone, soprano,
and electric ukes - all the while pushing the
boundaries further than he's ever pushed
them before. - Michael Dregni


https://youtu.be/CiaBIXwsPWc?list=PL53533538AA730B62 https://youtu.be/UhXgidXGUfc?list=PL53533538AA730B62 https://youtu.be/CiaBIXwsPWc?list=PL53533538AA730B62

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 1
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 2
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 3
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Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - Contents
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