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July 2010

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Venue:
Johnny Brenda's1201 N. Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $12 (Advance) / $15 (DOS)
Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 8:00pm

Nels Cline Singers

Nels Cline, guitar
Yuka Honda, keyboards
Devin Hoff, bass
Scott Amendola, drums

“The World’s Most Dangerous Guitarist.” -JazzTimes

The concept of duality has been a defining characteristic of guitarist Nels Cline since he first emerged in the late 1970s. On one hand, there’s the harmonically sophisticated, compositionally rich Nels Cline who contributed to jazz recordings by everyone from Tim Berne to Vinny Golia to Julius Hemphill. On the other, there’s the more extreme, visceral Nels Cline, who brought unbridled power and reckless abandon to the post-punk, alternative rock of Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, and The Geraldine Fibbers. Thirty years on, Cline continues to explore this dichotomy, whether it’s in his role as lead guitarist for famed rockers Wilco or with The Nels Cline Singers, his flagship group for the last ten years. Please join Ars Nova Workshop for the record release celebration of "Initiate," the Singers’ fourth release and Cline’s seventh as a leader for Cryptogramophone.

Richard Crandell
Richard Crandell, mbira

A colleague of Leo Kottke, John Fahey and Thomas Mapfumo, Richard Crandell has been adapting and retuning traditional Shona instruments for many years. Crandell creates a hypnotic minimalist world in the Terry Riley/Harry Partch tradition through the use of repetition, variation and phasing for modified mbira. Charming and original, expect beauty and subtly from this recently rediscovered American maverick composer out of the early days of west coast minimalism.

Good for Cows
Devin Hoff, bass
Ches Smith, drums

Think of Good for Cows, the duo of drummer Ches Smith and bassist Devin Hoff, as the Sly and Robbie of the avant-garde. No surefire suppliers of a silky-smooth rhythm track, these are the guys the pros call when they want to crank up and get weird. (The pair’s combined CV includes Nels Cline, Terry Riley and Xiu Xiu.) Likewise, Good for Cows serves as a forum for Smith and Hoff’s own experimental proclivities. Previously committed to semi-improvised, jazz-leaning tussles, the duo adds a metallic thrust on its latest effort, the sometimes punky, sometimes noodly and often outright doomy Audumla. Fortunately, for all its newfound muscle, Good for Cows hasn’t lost its signature wiry agility.—Hank Shteamer, Time Out New York

Good for Cows began as a duo in 1999 when Devin Hoff (string bass) and Ches Smith (drums) would meet regularly to work on musical ideas from a rhythm section's perspective. At first the two focused on creative interpretations of jazz compositions, particularly the music of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Charles Mingus. It wasn't long before their shared love of independent rock ('punk') bands such as Black Flag, Minutemen, Minor Threat began to inform the duo's sound in their use of timbre, aggressive energy, and personal voice. Equally important were devices such as multidirectional rhythm, aural cues, and investigations of distinctive sound worlds gleaned from study of contemporary composer/performers Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith, and Wadada Leo Smith. Good for Cows have since written numerous compositions and improvisations, searching for the strengths of the spare bass and drums instrumentation. They released their self-titled debut CD in 2001 (Evander Music), 'Less Than or Equal to' on (former Deerhoof guitarist) Rob Fisk's Free Porcupine Society label in 2003, 'Bebop Fantasy' on Asian Man Records in 2004, and the limited edition '10th Anniversary Concert' on the Czech Bleeding Ear imprint in 2008.