Nels Cline

Nels Cline / Elliott Sharp


Nels Cline is one of the most versatile, imaginative and original guitarists active today. Combining breathtaking technique with an informed musical intelligence, the self-taught Cline displays a mastery of guitar expression that encompasses delicate lyricism, sonic abstractions, and skull-crunching flights of fancy, inspiring Jazz Times to call him "The World's Most Dangerous Guitarist." Born in Los Angeles in 1956, his earliest musical influences included Roger McGuinn, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, John Fahey and Duane Allman. Cline claims his most valuable music training came from his work with bassist/multi-instrumentalist Eric von Essen, with whom he performed as a duo from 1977 until von Essen's untimely death in 1997. In the late 1970s, Cline formed the influential chamber-jazz group Quartet Music with von Essen, his brother, percussionist Alex Cline and violinist Jeff Gauthier. Cline's first appearance on an album was on woodwindist Vinny Golia's 1978 record, Openhearted, and his first work as a bandleader was 1988's Angelica with New York City altoist Tim Berne. Since then, Cline has performed on over 100 albums in the jazz, pop, rock, country, and experimental music genres. Some of the musicians he has performed and/or recorded with include: Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Rickie Lee Jones, Julius Hemphill, Charlie Haden, Tim Berne, Mark Dresser, Bobby Bradford, Elliott Sharp, Thurston Moore, Gregg Bendian, Mark Isham, The Geraldine Fibbers, Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Devin Sarno, Zeena Parkins, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Kaiser, The Scott Amendola Band, Banyan and Carla Bozulich. In addition to his latest trio The Nels Cline Singers, formed with drummer Scott Amendola and bassist Devin Hoff, Cline is also the lead guitarist for the critically acclaimed rock band Wilco, which he joined in 2004.
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