Wilco lead axe man and everyone’s favorite experimental rock-jazz guitarist Nels Cline is poised to unleash his fifth album leading his Nels Cline Singers on April 29. Macroscope signals some changes for the Singers in so many ways.
For one, the anything-goes trio has moved on to the Mack Avenue label, which marks a shift for the mainstream/fusion/smooth jazz label itself more so than the group it signed. Secondly, there’s a personnel change, as Trevor Dunn replaces longtime bassist Devin Hoff. He joins Cline and founding drummer Scott Amendola. And, there are special guest performers aplenty on this disc, such as percussionists Cyro Baptista and Josh Jones, harp player Zeena Parkins and Cibo Matto keyboardist (and Cline’s wife) Yuka C. Honda.
There’s one more distinction in store for us with this release: on a couple of tracks, Cline sings! But for now, we have an early taste of Macroscope via a stream from one of the core trio performances, an enticing little number called “Companion Piece.”
This is a classic NCS song – to the extent one can even typify what a NCS song is — in its deceptive simplicity. For the first half, Amendola is driving this thing, and he and Cline are rollicking along in lock step over soft and then medium intensity terrain. Cline asserts himself about halfway through and as he works himself to a delightfully nasty frenzy, those distinguished, jittery notes bleed out. The band hits the kill switch right at the height of the commotion.
Can’t wait to hear what more the guys have in store for us. Cline vocals? My ears are ready for this. I think.