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Continuation


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Audio CD, February 10, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Drummer/Percussionist Alex Cline steps to the fore with Continuation, a beautiful CD featuring Myra Melford on piano, Jeff Gauthier on violin, Peggy Lee on cello, Scott Walton on bass, and Cline on drums and percussion. Alex's music defies all genres with swinging strings, infectious grooves, and extended passages of transcendental beauty. This is a stunning collection of music from the artist who has worked with Arthur Blythe, Charles Lloyd, Tim Berne, Henry Grimes, Julius Hemphill, and many others.

Review

***** Anchored by two 18-minute pieces and filled with atmospheric resonance and meditative movements, Continuation is not a listening experience that can be rushed, but what a satisfying and varied journey Alex Cline and his four collaborators take you on. Word of atmospheric recordings tends to push potential listeners in one of two directions, but whatever side of the ledger you fall on, you're likely to make the supposition that the recording will have much scraping of strings, sawing at cymbal edges and disregard for time. Cline throws those assumptions overboard. Just when you get comfortable with the long, acidic tones from Jeff Gauthier's violin and Peggy Lee's cello on On The Bones of the Homegoing Thunder, the piece explodes with the entrance of a hard-swinging piano trio, with Myra Melford whipping around the keyboard with tight flurries of notes and Cline and bassist Scott Walton riding madly behind her. The composition continues to unfold in stages, raising and lowering the temperature as it goes.

The other long piece - written to accompany a pair of Japanese dancers - is also filled with movement and sweeping gestures, highlighted by a beautiful section with Gauthier and Lee sliding together and apart. Lee is also engaging on Nourishing Our Roots, the dark cry and rasp of her instrument in contrast with the exceptionally dense tone of Walton's bass, and on Open Hands - the most straightforwardly reflective piece on the recording.

Melford, though, grabs your ear time and again, whether with her minimalist piano on Fade To Green, her rhapsodic soloing on Steadfast or, especially through the effective use of her harmonium - as an additional textural element and as an evocative melodic lead on Clearing Our Streams. Moving from dramatic solo bass to an ancient-sounding anthemic ensemble, that composition best defines Cline's sense of evocative mood setting. -James Hale --Downbeat

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Nourishing Our Roots10:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Clearing Our Streams 7:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Fade To Green 4:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Steadfast11:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Submerge18:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. On The Bones Of The Homegoing Thunder18:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Open Hands - Receive, Release 5:59$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 10, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cryptogramophone
  • ASIN: B001NOMO5G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,197 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Music maven on February 14, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If you only read Cline's liner notes for this CD, which are full of philosophically tortuous phrases like "the designation I call 'I'", you might expect a lot of New Age noodling in the music. And certainly the music is profoundly meditative, but the key qualifier here is that word "profound." Cline and his bandmates manage an almost impossible combination of peace and intensity. Every note is exactly the right note, the only note for that moment, and no matter how slow or spacious the setting, the feeling is never languorous. You get the sense that each musician is intensely present, floating in a rushing stream in that actively passive way that Buddhism aspires to. Peggy Lee's cello playing, especially, is wonderfully expressive and passionate (she's always interesting in her recordings, but never more beautiful than on this CD). Cline plays an enormous kit on this session, but you would never know it--his uses it for color and places himself in a supporting role, adding exactly the right notes in exactly the right places. His solo introduction to "On the Bones of the Homegoing Thunder" is a masterpiece of texture, dynamics, and expression, and gives a sense of the enormous technique he could bring to bear if he chose. But like everyone else on this recording, he serves the music and uses only the necessary notes. Many years ago, in one of Robert Fripp's wonderful columns for Musician magazine he wrote, "Music is the cup that holds the wine of silence." That sublime idea has never been more perfectly manifested than here.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Etan Rosenbloom on February 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album is a gift. Like much of Alex Cline's previous work, Continuation is meditative and expansive in the compositional and global sense - it's a completely open system, taking in both eastern compositional aesthetics and a European refinement in the performances. Take a gander at Anne Fishbein's photos in the liner notes. They capture each member of Cline's ensemble in a moment of serene concentration. That's Continuation to a T. Whether this band is in full-band improv mode ("On the Bones of the Homegoing Thunder"), creepy mood piece mode ("Fade to Green") or lyrical soaring mode ("Open Hands (Receive, Release)"), there's a centeredness that keeps it all of a piece. Continuation's vistas wouldn't feel so panoramic were it not for the elite musicians that Cline has assembled. Violinist Jeff Gauthier and `cellist Peggy Lee each take particularly lyrical solo flights on "Steadfast;" Scott Walton's foundational bass pumps and thrums throughout. Myra Melford's harmonium girds the band's modal grooves, her piano seeks ecstatic free jazz peaks. And then of course there's Cline himself, whose startling command over every element in his massive kit is outweighed only by his restraint in using it. This album's 77 minutes are fully deserved.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hitters on May 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
An ambitious project, the record intends to be spiritual, misterious and deep. Unluckily, I simply do not think the music to be interesting enough to justify listening to the whole disc. I say this being a person who LOVES long ideas and records. But there is in my opinion not enough melody, rhythm, groove or mistery to make you stay hooked to what's going on. Besides the musical contents, the recoding quality is fantastic. Natural, spacious sound (the bass on track 2 is demonstration class).
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