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Dirty Baby

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iTunes Review

Guitarist Nels Cline has played with saxophonist Julius Hemphill and Willie Nelson, Charlie Haden and Wilco. And on 2010’s Dirty Baby, the ever-exploring Cline pushes himself into places he’s never been before. Conceived by poet/producer David Breskin, the double-album is a musical response to two sets of paintings by the Los Angeles-based pop artist Ed Ruscha. Cline leads a pair of large bands — mostly made up of fellow Angelenos, including Jon Brion, Vinny Golia, and Nels’ twin brother, Alex Cline — through pieces that incorporate improvisation. The first album, or “Side A,” is made up of a single, six-part suite that gradually moves from acoustic Americana to music that brings to mind the electric jam sessions that Miles Davis led in the early ‘70s. “Side B” takes a very different approach: it consists of 33 works, many shorter than two minutes, which jump from style to style. John Zorn’s postmodern pastiches come to mind, but “Side B” has a sense of pacing and wholeness that doesn’t leave the listener feeling so tossed about. Cline seems to feel at home in all the places he takes us.

Customer Reviews

Jesus Mother of GOD!!!

Nels & Co. rock it again. Much rocket sauce in his bottle...awsome.


Born: 1956 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Up to the mid-2000s, guitarist Nels Cline was probably best known for his work in the group Quartet Music (with brother Alex Cline, bassist Eric Von Essen, and violinist Jeff Gauthier) as well as other projects in the jazz, rock, and avant-garde idioms, and for his general involvement in the West Coast's improvisation community. However, since 2004, Cline has been a member of Wilco, which has opened up a much larger audience for the guitarist than is typical for even the most well-known of avant...
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Dirty Baby, Nels Cline
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