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Nels Cline’s Consentrik Quartet
Music fans and music makers alike know that one of the most powerful and universal ways we can connect is through music. And there is an important interplay and overlap of those circles, of players and listeners. For guitarist Nels Cline, one of his most consistent sources of inspiration across four decades as a musician, composer, band member (most notably with Wilco), and band leader (including The Nels Cline 4, and Nels Cline Singers), is exploring and creating musical circles that grow, overlap, expand, and come back to center with each new project that he steps into or brings into his orbit. Enter the newest addition to that arc, Nels
Cline’s Consentrik Quartet, a project in the making since the summer of 2019 with old friends and “master improvisers” Tom Rainey (also drummer for The Nels Cline 4), bassist Chris Lightcap, and saxophonist Ingrid Laubock.
Defined as “circles or objects having a common center”, Consentrik couldn’t be a more perfect name, and the old Middle English spelling caught Nels’ eye: “One can sense the appeal of this idea when it is applied to a group of improvisers playing in service to an idea or composition. I like the graphic look of the ‘K’ as well as the word ‘consent’ within it. Coming up with band names is rather legendarily difficult, but I think this one fits this group and its musical intentions rather well.”
Now as Nels preps for recording the Consentrik Quartet, an integral part of that preparation is a series of concerts. The live performances will inform the recordings, the audience witnessing – and therefore becoming part of – the exciting evolution of these compositions, which were written specifically with its players in mind. Whatever sonic shape it takes, Nels Cline brings us into yet another musical universe, where we become another circle within these concentric circles of shared expression, exploration, and community.
New compositions by Nels Cline for Consentrik Quartet were commissioned by Ars Nova for the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Ingrid Laubrock is an experimental saxophonist and composer, interested in exploring the borders between musical realms and creating multi-layered, dense and often evocative sound worlds. A prolific composer, Laubrock was named a “true visionary” by pianist and The Kennedy Center’s artistic director Jason Moran, and a “fully committed saxophonist and visionary” by The New Yorker.
Her composition Vogelfrei was nominated “one of the best 25 Classical tracks of 2018” by The New York Times.
Laubrock has performed with Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jason Moran, Kris Davis, Nels Cline, Tyshawn Sorey, Mary Halvorson, Myra Melford, Zeena Parkins, Tom Rainey, Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, Wet Ink and many others. Laubrock has composed for ensembles ranging from solo to chamber orchestra.
Awards include Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the Arts Foundation, BBC Jazz Prize for Innovation, SWR German Radio Jazz Prize and German Record Critics Quarterly Award. She won best Rising Star Soprano Saxophonist in the ‘Downbeat Annual Critics Poll in 2015 and best Tenor Saxophonist in 2018.
Ingrid Laubrock has received composing commissions by The Fromm Music Foundation, BBC Glasgow Symphony Orchestra, Bang on a Can, Yarn/Wire, Grossman Ensemble, The Shifting Foundation, The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, The Jerwood Foundation, American Composers Orchestra, Tricentric Foundation, SWR New Jazz Meeting, Jazzahead, Wet Ink Ensemble, The Jazz Gallery Commissioning Series, NY State Council of the Arts, Wet Ink, John Zorn’s Stone Commissioning Series and the EOS Orchestra.
She is an 2022/23 Artist-in-residence of The Wet Ink Ensemble.
She is a recipient of the 2019 Herb Alpert Ragdale Prize in Music Composition, the 2022 Herb Alpert Ucross Prize in Music Composition and the 2021 Berklee Institute of Gender Justice Women Composers Collection Grant.
Ingrid Laubrock is part-time faculty at Columbia University and The New School. She holds an MFA in Music Composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Chris Lightcap is a bassist and composer with a wide-ranging performing and recording career. He has worked with Regina Carter, Craig Taborn, Marc Ribot, Glen Hansard, Mark Turner, John Medeski, Jason Moran, The Kronos Quartet, Tomasz Stanko, Chris Potter, Paul Motian, John Scofield, Dave Liebman, Jon Irabagon, Paquito D’Rivera, Anthony Braxton, Joe Morris, Joshua Bell, Sheila Jordan, James Carter, Butch Morris, Ben Monder, Mary Halvorson, Julian Lage, Terrel Stafford, Ralph Alessi and many other artists.
Lightcap’s releases as a leader and composer have been featured on year-end top album lists by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, Downbeat, Jazztimes, the Village Voice and The Wall Street Journal. These include Lay-Up (2000), his debut quartet album on Fresh Sound featuring Tony Malaby, Bill McHenry and Gerald Cleaver, followed up by Bigmouth (2003). This group expanded to a quintet with Craig Taborn and Chris Cheek on Deluxe (2010) and Epicenter (2015) which were released on the Clean Feed Label under the name Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth. In 2014 Lightcap assembled Superette, an all-electric band featuring Jonathan Goldberger and Curtis Hasselbring on guitars and Dan Rieser on drums. Superette released its debut recording on Royal Potato Family Records in 2018 featuring guests Nels Cline and John Medeski. Finally, Lightcap’s most recent release is SuperBigmouth (2019) on the Pyroclastic label. This album features an octet that combines both the Bigmouth and Superette ensembles. Lightcap has led various groups at major festivals around the world including Earshot, Willisau, Saalfelden, North Sea, Porto, Geneva, Ljubljana, Maribor, Edinburgh and Guimaraes.
He currently performs with a variety of groups, including Regina Carter’s touring and recording ensembles, the Matt Wilson Quartet, Nels Cline’s Consentrik Quartet, the Jon Irabagon Quartet, Craig Taborn’s Daylight Ghosts and the Ghost Train Orchestra.
In 2011 and 2016 Lightcap was awarded Chamber Music America’s “New Jazz Works” commission grants. He has also received generous composing and production grants from The Shifting Foundation. In 2006 Lightcap was commissioned to write “Wiretap” for the contemporary chamber ensemble counter)induction and he has also contributed compositions and arrangements to albums released by Regina Carter, Matt Wilson, Chad Taylor, Mary Halvorson, Rob Brown and others.
Tom Rainey was born in Pasadena, California in 1957. Since moving to New York in 1979 he has performed and or recorded with the following artists:
John Abercrombie, Mose Allison, Julian Arguelles, Ray Anderson, Tim Berne, Jane Ira Bloom, Anthony Braxton, Nels Cline, Ted Curson, Kris Davis, Mark Ducret, Mark Feldman, Michael Formanek, Drew Gress, Mark Helias, Fred Hersch, Andy Laster, Ingrid Laubrock, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Tony Malaby, Albert Mangelsdorff, Carmen McRae, Mike Nock, Simon Nabatov, New and Used, Anita O’Day, Andrea Parkins, Herb Robertson, Angelica Sanchez, Louis Sclavis, Brad Shepik, Ken Werner, Denny Zeitlin.
Current activities include performing and recording music with the Tom Rainey Trio as well as his quintet, Obbligato. Tom also continues performing with many of the aforementioned artists.