Cryptogramophone's month-long guest blogging for Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music continues with our label head Jeff Gauthier's latest post on his 30+ year relationship with twins extraordinare Alex and Nels Cline. Here's an except:
"One of the perks of owning a record label is from time to time I get to pretend to be a record producer. I say pretend, because most of the artists I work with don't really need to be produced. In many cases the musicians are my longtime colleagues and closest friends, and they often have mad production skills of their own. Usually my involvement is limited to booking the studio, hiring the engineer, and making sure everyone gets fed. I make myself available as a second pair of ears, and I keep extensive notes. But at least as far as the musicians I produce are concerned, the artist is almost always right.
"I've been working with guitarist Nels Cline and drummer/percussionist Alex Cline for about 30 years (and yes we did start out as small children). For about 15 of those years we co-led a new music ensemble called Quartet Music with bassist/composer Eric von Essen. After Eric's untimely death in 1996, Alex and I continued playing in each other's ensembles, and Nels has played and recorded in many of my groups as well.
"Not many people know that Nels and Alex are identical twins (mirror twins to be exact). Most people don't know because they don't advertise it. They don't advertise it because their musical paths don't cross quite as often as they used to, and besides, it's kind of old news to them. I think more than a few people in the world at large were surprised to discover that Nels and Alex shared the same birthday at their 50th birthday concert in LA a few years ago. Two musicians with same birthday, wow what a coincidence!
"On February 10th, 2009, Cryptogramophone will release two recordings: Coward by Nels Cline, and Continuation by Alex Cline. This is the first time in the history of the world that Alex and Nels will have CDs coming out at the same time on the same label. I'm afraid I must take partial credit for this, as it was important to me that these two artists, who have been so instrumental in my life, make definitive statements to cap Cryptogramophone's tenth anniversary year. This radical idea unleashed a wild set of coincidences (the "Twin Unavoidability Factor" as Alex calls it) which if examined closely extend far beyond the bounds of serendipity or genetic predisposition. And just for the record, until recently both artists had been working with absolutely no knowledge of what the other was doing."
Check out the full blog post here, which includes two unreleased tracks from each of the Cline Brothers newest Crypto releases. Also, Nels will be doing his part for the common republic with Das Viclo when he/they appear tonight on The Colbert Report.
This Sunday, November 2, Alex Cline will be hosting an amazing lineup of local muscians for the Memorial Concert for percussionist Dan Morris. Alex has many talented friends who are planning to show, including Larry Karush, Brad Dutz’s Obliteration Trio, rock band the Cheat, Eleni Mandell (accompanied by Jeremy Drake), Takako Uemura, Marie Morris, Matt Piper, and Alex Cline’s Band of the Moment (including Jeff Gauthier, Dan Clucas, G.E. Stinson, Wayne Peet, Steuart Liebig, Erin Barnes, Cline, and live painter Norton Wisdom). Look out for Alex's upcoming Greenleaf Music post on the concert and his late friend Morris who passed away way too young last December.