I remember this photo very well because you gave me a print of it long ago! I think this may have been taken after a Quartet Music concert at the L.A. Press Club. We’re sitting in Alex’s old Chevy van. ——————photo could have been taken by Eric Von Essen – May 15, 1982 —- that’s Nels Cline & Mark Weber
January 31, 2o19 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)
Nels Cline & Our Affinities
I have no memory of when I first met Nels, it’s buried back there in the haze and smog of 1970s LA. Probably in the halcyon days of concerts at the Century City Playhouse every Sunday night where all us Out cats, and kitties, depended on for our sustenance.
We grew up in the days of Addams Family, Gilligan’s Island , Hogan’s Heroes, MAD magazine, Maynard G Krebs, Rat Fink, girls with beehive hairdos, summer vacation, Beatles, Motown. We were a shade too young for Monterey Pop Festival (1967) and Woodstock (1969) was too far away. Among everything else coming over the radio airwaves, Nels was into Roger McGuinn & the Byrds, and Jimi, among others. I was into Dylan, Judy Collins, and KPPC. Then I got deep into Jackson Pollock and Nels was into Robert Motherwell, we both read as much Henry Miller as we could find, his uncompromising nonconformist bohemian starving for his art appeals to young artist types fresh out of high school. Capt Beefheart was our God. Is it any wonder that when we first heard Cecil, Sun Ra, Ornette, Dolphy, Coltrane, we did a cannonball off the high dive right into Avantgardesville, we went bats. I always said we came into jazz by the back door: via Free Jazz.
By 1976 I was the Los Angeles correspondent for CODA and also a monthly tabloid called FOLLIES (edited by the great Terry Cannon). I want to thank Nels right here, that, over the years I’ve wrote the liner notes to only two-dozen albums, but Nels’ duet record with Eric Von Essen (ELEGIES, Nine Winds) was the first. A real vote of confidence in that meat grinder called Los Angeles, back when I thought I could make it as a professional writer. And now I have bragging rights that I wrote the notes to Nels’ first album. His concert with his quartet here in Albuquerque February 8 at Outpost Performance Space sold out months ago, I guess he’s famous now? and more power to him, as we used to say.
I sent Nels a whole gang of photos and he wrote about them.
The Century City Playhouse, on Pico Blvd. near Prosser Ave. and almost next to the Cheviot Hills golf course, where Lee Kaplan put on Sunday evening concerts by local improvisers/jazz artists as well as by some of the most important and/or obscure but now-legendary improvisers of the day. As a sort of extension of Rhino Records, where Lee and I both worked, I often worked the door and thus heard almost every concert. A partial list would include Wadada Leo Smith, Charlie Haden, Bobby Bradford, John Carter, James Newton, Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Henry Kaiser, Eugene Chadbourne w/ John Zorn, Sonny Simmons, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Wayne Horvitz (with White Noise), Kurt McGettrick, David Friesen w/ John Stowell, Marty Ehrlich, Baikida Carroll, Horace Tapscott, Michael Gregory Jackson, Vinny Golia…. It was where local upstarts like yours truly/Quartet Music could start to play out, develop our music. And they did have plays there. I am actually surprised that “Bleacher Bums” and/or Jules Pfeiffer’s “Little Murders” aren’t on the marquee in this photo, since those productions ran there for eons. I was a little black box inside with a few theater seats and some folding chairs for closer views on the floor. A man named Ivan Spiegel ran it. It was the 70s! Interestingly, I learned in around 1983 or 84 when I met Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth/Free Kitten/Body/Head fame, among other things) that she and her family lived about 2 blocks from there then. ————-photo by Mark Weber —- October 28, 1979 Los Angeles
This is a rare shot of what Julius called The Janus Company — a trio of Julius Hemphill (alto saxophone, maybe flute), Baikida EJ Carroll (trumpet), and my brother Alex on drums. They played a mere handful of concerts in the U.S. — in Los Angeles (seen here at the Century City Playhouse), in Berkeley at a place called Mapenzi, and later in Philadelphia (at The Foxhole maybe?) with Abdul Wadud added on ‘cello. I think this photo may portray the first gig Alex ever did with Julius. As was often the case, when someone asked creator/curator of the concert series Lee Kaplan who in Los Angeles should play drums on a concert, he recommended Alex, and Julius LOVED Alex’s playing right away, which led to those future gigs. I think Alex was about 22 years old at the time (which means I was, too). They actually recorded an album for Lee’s emerging Aten label which was never released. But they went on to tour Europe — a tour which did not go especially well as I understood, owing to Julius’ self-destructive impulses and some other complications. Alex and I had already been made aware of Baikida’s playing from Julius’ recording “Dogon A.D.” from his St. Louis years, and Baikida was phenomenal on trumpet as well as being a sweet human. He also made some really fantastic records of his own around this time.
Years after The Janus Company, after Julius had had to have one of his legs amputated at the knee (an alcoholic/diabetic gang green scenario), Julius took some down time at his aunt’s in Oakland CA and got himself together, and during this time he contacted Alex about his desire to start an electric band with him, along with Jumma Santos (percussion), yours truly on guitar, and a bassist. Julius asked Alex who he recommended, and he suggested Steuart Liebig (who eventually started calling himself “Steubig” around this time for some reason I have never understood, in spite of his repeated explanations). This became Julius Arthur Hemphill and the JAH Band (as in Julius Arthur Hemphill…). We played some gigs in Hollywood, San Francisco, and Minneapolis (Minnesota arts funding!) and went to Europe — my first time playing there. In fact, our very first concert there was recorded and was released in a severely edited form as “Georgia Blue” on the Minor Music label out of Germany. Perhaps it’s unnecessary for me to say that this is NOT my best work on record — I was extremely nervous and still trying to figure out how to play Julius’ music — and even Julius’ chops were not quite up to speed yet after his break. But that was kind of typical in some way, as much of Julius’ recorded work and career doesn’t represent his strengths all that sufficiently. Julius could very effectively short-circuit his most advantageous opportunities. This said, he was a true musical genius, a kind and laconic and erudite gentleman. He was dauntingly handsome and charismatic (and about 6′ 5″ tall) — a Texan by birth, who had played (usually very briefly before being fired for one reason or another) with Ray Charles, Ike & Tina Turner, and god knows who else. His work in St. Louis with the Black Artists Group (BAG) was legendarily unique and badass and that reputation preceded his eventual move to New York. There are dozens of stories that I could tell you, and I only played with him and on and off for about 4 years. On subsequent European tours in ’85 and ’86 Julius added a second guitarist to the JAH Band — the first being Bill Frisell, the second being Allan Jaffe. Yep! Julius took a lot of shit from certain of his immediate musical community and the press for doing this band, but he really didn’t give a shit what anyone thought. Julius was a true artist, a quiet iconoclast. His writing for the World Saxophone Quartet, his later saxophone sextet, and his Big Band show the true genius of his composing, I feel. And then there were theatrical/multi-media works like “Roi Boyé and the Gotham Minstrels”, wherein Julius, dressed in a silver lamé suit and white fedora, performed as the character Roi Boyé along with pre-recorded saxophones, flute, and narration….
In 1994, about 8 years after the JAH Band had ceased to play, I found myself in NYC recording on Mike Watt’s massive record “Ball Hog or Tugboat?” and I decided to call him up and thank him for believing in my abilities back when few of his stature would have known about me or taken the chance to put a novice like me in their band. I knew he had been struggling with kidney disease so was often just sitting at home. We chatted and caught up a bit — he was wryly funny and had a few sharp words with which he skewered the then-ubiquitous “young lions” on jazz neo-traditionalism. In another year he was gone. I am still waiting for the world to discover or rediscover his genius, but I know that his close and deep musician friends Ursula Oppens and Marty Ehrlich are taking special care to preserve his legacy and tend to an archive of his often brilliant work. I know that we are all individuals with unique qualities, etc. etc., but man, they/he/she/it really broke the mold when Julius Hemphill was created. ———— photo by Mark Weber —- September 11, 1977
Lee Kaplan, old High School friend, bassist in Alex and my High School band (which later included Trio drummer Michael Preussner on miscellaneous percussion as we attempted to create our own version of Dom Um Romao and/or Airto Moreira…). Lee got so into improvised music and so irritated that our musical heroes weren’t playing in Los Angeles that he found a place – the Century City Playhouse, a grungy little black box of a place — to attempt to present the music and truly managed to lure many legendary and nascent wizards to play there, in spite of his general social awkwardness and lack of familiarity with music “business”. Here he is playing his Serge modular synthesizer, inspired by Richard Teitelbaum of Musica Elettronica Viva. Back then Lee almost never wore shoes and carried around a gallon plastic jug of Arrowhead water everywhere he went – years ahead of the bottled-water-as-personal-accoutrement craze! It looks as though Alex was playing with him that night or perhaps Lee borrowed his gongs. I do recall Lee owning that Thai gong and bell plate, though. WAY too much could be written about Lee/this period! ———————-photo by Mark Weber — November 26, 1978 Century City Playhouse
Horace…. This trio — a brief moment – was quite SMOKIN’, I think. It was so amazing to Alex and to me that this ever happened: Horace Tapscott with Roberto Miranda (who played with Horace for years and years) and my longhair brother Alex… I think that Peavey amp right in front on the right was Roberto’s wacky bass rig at the time, set up way far away from him. Roberto had many eccentricities…
Horace is a bit difficult to describe/explain to those who know nothing about him (which may be more people than I care to think about). His regular concerts with the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (please check my spelling) had a scope and significance beyond music. But musically speaking, it nurtured the talents of so many musicians, many of whom really stood out and the most famous of whom was Arthur Blythe. But Jesse Sharps, Fritz Wise, Donald Dean, Adele Sebastian (someday I suppose someone should write something about this talented and charismatic young flutist who died so young – a truly beautiful human)…a lot of wonderful players. Horace was like royalty or something. We were in awe of him. His earlier stance was pretty intense and a little fearsome, but he was really one of the warmest people, and he really represented art/jazz, his community, and the dignity and power of an African-American. His presence was almost staggering, his playing knotty and unpredictable. He was a real leader. And he could disarm anyone with that smile of his and with his embrace. Alex and I attended his funeral, which was in a huge church with a huge crowd attending. And I don’t want this to sound weird, but looking at him in the open casket lying in state with a fez on…. he looked like a king. Regal. Stunning. I guess I’ll stop there. —– photo by Mark Weber – February 10, 1980 Century City Playhouse
I wasn’t at this concert — Derek Bailey and Evan Parker at the Century City Playhouse — and for the life of me I can’t remember why, but I must have had some sort of family dinner or something or been out of town (the latter is unlikely, however). No way I had a conflicting gig back then! But Derek borrowed my Music Man amp. I sure wished I had heard this! Weirdly, Derek played solo years later at Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica and again I loaned him my amp and AGAIN I couldn’t attend the concert! What the-?! NO clue as to why I missed that one, either! It wasn’t until around 2005 that I was able to hear Derek play ‘live’, and that was in Barcelona where he and his wife had moved to get Derek out of the dank cold of the UK. Derek was so lovely to finally chat with and I thanked him for his intrepid and exhaustive innovations, his bravery and brilliance. He passed away about a year later.
Evan played solo at the Century City Playhouse back in those days and I did get to hear that. It was utterly remarkable. —————photo by Mark Weber ———- October 15, 1980
I still have this flyer in a box in Los Angeles. Spiral: mostly improvised full-on space music with Brian Horner, whom I met when I was going to Occidental College in the mid-70s. And Alex, of course. We ended up playing at Occidental a few years later (this show) I guess because Brian still had connections there through the electronic music studio there and with the late great pianist/teacher Richard Grayson. I suppose it should be noted that coming up back then and well into the late 80s almost every concert I played was something the musicians set up and attempted to publicize themselves. ———————— 1979 —- Design by Alex Cline
This is really blowing my mind…. Roberto Miranda and Eric Von Essen – two very different types of bassists/musicians – conferring about…bass! So much to say about both these gentlemen… Roberto is still around and mostly teaching, I think. Eric died in 1997 in his early 40s from too much everything (except music). ————————-photo by Mark Weber —- August 25, 1979
Eric “preparing” his bass for a percussion jam or something with a sheet of music paper! ————–photo by Mark Weber of Eric Von Essen – May 15, 1982
Oh man… I made this flyer by blowing ink around with a hollowed out Bic pen… Very early concertizing with Eric, who was a true musical genius and who ended up being kind of my musical partner for almost 17 years, and Vinny, whom I met in 1975, I think. The Georges Sand Bookstore was right down the street from Rhino Records on Westwood Blvd., where I worked for almost 9 years. The bookstore was small and quite lovely, and the owner, Charlotte Gusay, was unerringly sweet and supportive of us and of creativity in general. I don’t remember much about this concert, however. I DO recall playing there once with a bassist named Wayne Roberts for a book signing event for Leonard Feather, the Los Angeles Times’ jazz critic who was syndicated all over and who had a radio show, too. It was really uncomfortable as no one showed up to have their book signed and Mr. Feather spent the awkward hour or two trying not to look at us and trying to charm Ms Gusay into…something that seemed sexual. Nothing happened, though!
I’m seeing not only details of the drums/percussion set that Alex created for this group (Chinese tom toms, roto toms, smaller/quiter/darker old Zildjian cymbals, shakers, etc.) but also my cuica that our parents brought from Brazil along with a bevy of other samba instruments and a berimbau. I guess I played cuica during the concert at some point! We were very inspired by Oregon (Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Glen Moore, Collin Wolcott) and Miles’ Quintet with Wayne, Herbie, Ron, Tony, among others….. ————–photo by Mark Weber — June 29, 1980 Century City Playhouse
As much as you are bummed out by this photograph’s poor film quality, it afford’s a good look at Alex’s unique setup. I am also seeing the stool that I took everywhere for these concerts as well as the pillow I always brought (!!) I am playing my 1952 Martin 00-17 — probably still my favorite acoustic 6-string guitar and which I still own (of course). Eric loved this guitar, too. I bought it at Walecki’s Westwood Music in maybe 1977 for $225 from Fred Walecki himself — a remarkable man and back then a rather influential figure equipment-wise in the worlds of artists like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George… He was always really nice to me. Around 1978 or 79 I also bought a Taylor 12-string from him (yep — still have it!). The company was just starting up then and the guitar is fantastic. For many years it remained the most expensive guitar I ever bought – it cost $950 including hardshell case. I took little chunks out my Rhino Records salary every week for so long trying to pay for it that my parents finally loaned me the money to get it so I could at least play the thing! Fred was so kind to let me do that, though. Fred has since passed away. He was quite an amazing character. ——-photo by Mark Weber @ LA Press Club, 600 N Vermont Avenue — Quartet Music on a double-bill with Joanne Grauer Trio – May 15, 1982 (yes, this was some horrid bulk film US Army surplus I got for $4/a roll of 100 feet —– I was shooting it before realized it was junk)
This was “Tim Berne & Alberan” — Tim, Alex, Roberto Miranda, me — playing at the now legendary / infamous Cathay De Grande in Hollywood beneath a Chinese restaurant. It was a punk haven/hell. Phast Phreddie Patterson booked us there but couldn’t make it to the show (he was a regular DJ and charismatic presence there). When we arrived the floors were completely wet with almost an inch of water because during the previous night’s punk rock show some kids had ripped the latrines out of the wall in the men’s room… squish…squish…squish… I recall that I met Kid Congo Powers upstairs that night, that Kristine McKenna was in the audience. But I can’t for the life of me remember what “Alberan” is/was. This band played maybe one other time, in Santa Barbara. ————photo by Mark Weber —- February 17, 1981 ———–
You asked whether the Strat in that Alberan photo was my first one. So, to that question:
The Stratocaster I am playing here was purchased from a man named Lew Camerata (maybe misspelled), the lead guitarist in The Zippers, a sort of punk-inspired power pop-ish band ubiquitous in Southern California back then (my then-wife DD Faye managed the band and her sister Danielle played bass with them). It was a horrible guitar but I had no clue at the time — and I am still pretty clueless about guitars and other things… Anyway, this was a 70s 3-bolt with a Kahler tremolo added plus toggle switches replacing the slider pickup selector. I think it had Seymour Duncan pickups (which I generally adore to this day). I can feel guitar geeks shuddering as I write this! I bought it to play in a Strat-centric rock/funk band called BLOC, which was formed by my pal (bassist) Steuart Liebig and in which I played for almost 8 years. A guitar repair fellow once saw it backstage at the Club Lingerie in Hollywood and, after asking whose it was, asked me whether it bothered me that the strings were not only uneven widths from each other but also uneven heights! I hadn’t noticed….
Nels sent me a postcard that said: If you don’t go see The Blasters you’re blowing it! Nels was immersing himself deeply into the Hollywood scene and the outskirts of punk, of which, I knew zero. I was up in the Valley at Donte’s and Carmelo’s checking out the 1950s. [ I probably still have the postcard, I’ll look in my Nels Cline file ]———————–mw. The Blasters @ Whisky-a-Go-Go – Sept 11, 1981 ————photo by MW
My first wife DD and I used to go hear The Blasters every time we could. They were amazing! Crazed energy but still in control, with Phil Alvin’s classic voice and Dave Alvin’s wonderful songs, going full-tilt. Here seen with Gene Taylor on piano, who joined up with them a little later (along with periodic visits from saxophonist Lee Allen). So damn good, classic, ROCKIN’! ————–photo by Mark Weber at The Whisky-A-Go-Go — September 11, 1981
Quartet Music at the Century City Playhouse? This may have been our first gig. Eric Von Essen, Jeff Gauthier, Alex, me… We soldiered on for about 11 years until there was just not enough interest and when Eric became increasingly immersed in jazz lexicon and stopped composing for awhile. He became a first call jazz bassist as a result and I went back into “rock” – a natural and tensionless drift apart. Jeff went on to create Cryptogramophone Records and is still one of my best friends – one of the kindest and most generous friends a lad could ever have in life. ————–photo by Mark Weber @ Century City Playhouse —- June 29, 1980
Ah – Too bad this isn’t one of my flyers. This one was made by the club. I did monthly flyers – mostly handwritten at first – with my descriptions of the performers and their music. I still have copies of them in my storage space in Los Angeles, and upon looking through them a few years ago before I moved to New York I was amazed at who played. Eugene Chadbourne was a special out-of-town guest on this particular week and needed as much dough as we could accrue (my concert series New Music Monday was a door gig), so my Trio opened and then handed the stage over to Eugene, who stayed at the house my then wife DD and I lived in mere blocks away. He drank a lot of grapefruit juice… He also went to a tape copying place and made about 25 copies of a ‘live’ recording of a prior gig somewhere that someone had just given him, xeroxed some info, bought some baggies, and assembled a little package in our living room. Then he sold them at the Alligator Lounge show! Eugene is a national treasure to my mind. There’s no one like him!
Mary and I are friends — she and Tomas (Fujiwara) live rather close to Yuka and me in Brooklyn. I sometimes run into her at a nearby market. She s amazing on every level — a totally unique voice on the instrument as well as a monster reader/technician. It was Ches Smith who first exposed me to her playing maybe 15 years ago, when he was still living in the Bay Area. It was a track on some compilation record — possibly the first and only evidence of her playing recorded at that time, before Trevor Dunn’s Trio Convulsant. I was immediately enthusiastic. I feel lucky that she and I have been able to play together every once in awhile, but I feel even luckier that I/we get to hear her playing and writing. ——-photo by Mark Weber with Mary Halvorson visiting the Thursday jazz show at KUNM – December 19, 2o13 —- When I saw that she had a sheet on “Ida Lupino” I beseeched her to play it, and she did, even though she confessed she was still learning it’s mysteries, what a trouper, she has since recorded it proper and put it on a CD ——– It was Nels years ago that pulled my coat as to what a beauty of a tune “Ida Lupino” is, written by Carla Bley
Interesting zit or something on my nostril….!!! So I guess I’m maybe 42 years old or something here.
That’s me over 20 years ago: every necklace filled with personal significance…. Carla Bozulich made me the bead necklace – I can now see that as a harbinger of our eventually falling in love and being together for many years… The yellow cat I.D. necklace was a spare from “Rincy” (Nancy Sandercock), the drummer from one of my all-time favorite bands, The Polar Goldie Cats (each member of the band wore one of these with their band moniker on it). I felt so honored to have been given Rincy’s spare… And the heart, the Om…they’re just me, my things…. ———photo by Mark Weber —- June 28, 1997
This is Fibbers drummer Kevin Fitzgerald (he later went on to play a lot with Circle Jerks and Eleni Mandel, among others – a massively talented multi-instrumentalist/songwriter, though few know he possesses such skills), our then-crew person (on the right – I am embarrassed to say that I am blanking on her name now) and one of the members of The Eyeliners – a classic garage rock girl trio who were really fantastic and ever so crushworthy. I am blanking on her name, too – sorry! I wonder what happened to this Albuquerque treasure. ——— photo by Mark Weber —- September 26, 1997, the day after the Geraldine Fibbers played The Launchpad, Albuquerque
I am still happy and rather moved when someone comes up to me and tells me that they are a Fibbers fan. I was a huge fan before I ever played with them, so I get it! It was Mike Watt who introduced me to them/their music. The passion and emotion that Carla and Co. brought to bear were almost excruciating — certainly exhilarating – and not about guitar solos/histrionics at all. It was a mini-orchestra. Much drama and lots of blood, sweat, tears… I could say so much more. But what shirt am I wearing?? I don’t remember that one! The Fibbers were visionary thrifters and had cool style, and they freed me to try outfits/looks that I never would have dared to attempt previously. In many way, my association with them had the effect of personal liberation. I became much more MYSELF in many ways, and I am grateful for this. ——————-photo by Mark Weber – September 25, 1997 the Geraldine Fibbers band in Albuquerque
This is an amusing portrait of Fibbers bassist William Tutton wearing some wacky sunglasses that Carla may have bought for me – they were some weird designer deal that made us all chuckle. I had them for years and they may still be in a box somewhere. Bill was an amazing force in the Fibbers, playing the loudest upright bass in Christendom, and always coming up with fresh-sounding bass lines/parts. He’s still in Los Angeles and has started getting back into playing more. I love Bill. —————-photo by Mark Weber —- September 26, 1997
I booked every Monday at The Alligator Lounge for about 4 years, and when we were all in town / available, which was most Mondays, my Trio played cleanup while also generally being the main draw for the evening. I feel bad now (I felt bad then, too) that because this was a door gig situation and I had to pay two other “acts” Bob Mair (bass) and Michael Preussner (drums) didn’t make shit in terms of money. And after doing the monthly calendar and mailing myself – I was really poor in those days, too — I lost money most months. But still, Bob and Michael weren’t making much and they deserved a lot. They really hung in there with me through thick and thin. Well, at least until they didn’t/couldn’t. ——-photo by Mark Weber @ Alligator Lounge, Santa Monica —— November 25, 1996
Yeah – – – We set up really close together as though on a boat. Watt didn’t shave his beard until all four tours were finished. The last show was at The Viper Room in West Hollywood. Watt shaved the beard off (well, almost all of it) onstage. Petra Haden sat in on that show. I am playing the same Jazzmaster that’s in this photo to this day with Wilco. It’s my favorite, and I bought it from Watt in ’95. I call it “The Watt”… . . . photo by Mark Weber —- September 23, 1998
1998 – the last tour Mike Watt did (number 4 of 4) playing “Contemplating the Engine Room”, his first “opera”, and the only tour that I did playing the piece. Though Steven Hodges and I are on the record (still one of my favorite sessions – absolutely brilliantly conceived by Watt – and a record few seem to have heard to this day even though it was released on Columbia Records). Bob Lee played drums on tours 3 and 4, I think, and he is just such a treasure – rock ‘n roll power but with versatility and a tireless work ethic on the road. Joe Baiza played guitar instead of me on the first 3 tours – I had joined The Geraldine Fibbers by late ’96, but by late ’98 they were no more. So back into The Boat (Watt’s van) I went. It was a tough tour but I can safely say that we kicked ass. ————photo by Mark Weber @ The Launchpad, Albuquerque – September 23, 1998
My old Trio: Bob Mair on bass and Michael Preussner on drums, all the way from Los Angeles to play in my favorite city, New York City. I think it’s safe to say that the chemistry of this rather long-running band was starting to get a bit raggedy after my tours with Michael in Mike Watt & the Crew of the Flying Saucer in ’95 and my own treks with The Geraldine Fibbers in ’96 and ’97. But we did our best, and maybe even “killed”… I can’t remember at this point. It was the second (and last) time this band played NYC, the first being at the original Knitting Factory on Houston on a bill with Tim Berne’s Blood Count. Yes! ——————Nel Cline Trio —- June 28, 1997 South Street Seaport Park NYC – photo by Mark Weber
Another Trio shot. Back then I always played a 1966 Fender Jaguar as my “jazz” guitar. Pretty funny, right?! Steuart Liebig called it my “jazz slab.” I had earmarked “The Watt” (my Jazzmaster) as my “rock” instrument, so I guess that’s why I’m not playing it here. I am silly sometimes! —- photo by Mark Weber —- June 28, 1997
Andy Laster’s Hydra kicked off the afternoon with their complicated and ultra-creative music. I had already met Herb Robertson (trumpet) then because he had played a lot with our old friend Tim Berne. I think that’s Ratzo Harris on bass, right? And I recall Gregg (Bendian) nudging me and saying, as they played, something like “check out the drummer Tom Rainey. He is incredible, man!” So true! And you will hear him next month in my band, over 20 years later! He is a true master. And I ended up performing a recording with Andy Laster a couple of years ago with Satoko Fuji’s big band. Amazing…. . . . June 28, 1997 photo by Mark Weber
I played this set as well as one with my Trio that day as part of the jazz festival. Then Trio drummer Michael Preussner and I went to play with Thurston Moore at The Cooler in the meat packing zone on W 14th St. A lot of playing that day! Alex generally played in Gregg Bendian’s Interzone (seen here), but couldn’t make the trip to New York, so the great Michael Sarin played. Mark Dresser on bass – an amazing combo! This band – with many different bassists – went for several years and made some good records, even toured a little. Gregg leading, composing, and flying around the vibes like the maniac he is. ————- photo by Mark Weber —- June 28, 1997 South Street Seaport Park NYC
A guitar for Nels ————– line drawing by MW