When future generations listen back to the sounds of this still young millennium, what music will remain to define the era? Master improvisers Bobby Previte, Jamie Saft and Nels Cline make their bid for immortality with Music From the Early 21st Century.
While hardly representative of the hits streaming through the Bluetooth ether these days, Music From the Early 21st Century is nonetheless aptly titled, colliding as its does entire threads of musical history leading up to the very moment of its explosive creation.
The album, captured live during a brief tour of the Northeastern U.S. in early 2019, is essentially a freely improvised organ trio set. But filtered through the lens of these three encyclopaedically eclectic masters, it morphs continually from one prismatic hybrid of styles to another throughout its ten carefully curated pieces.
The cover image speaks to the concept behind the music: known as the Hubble Legacy Field, the breathtaking photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope captures the earliest image yet of our universe, revealing nascent galaxies at a moment just a little more than half a billion years after the Big Bang. The awe-inspiring notion of witnessing the birth of everything we know, still evident in our modern reality, echoes the musical evolutions that ripple through the trio’s creations.
Somewhat surprisingly, given not only the profound chemistry evinced on these spontaneous compositions but the parallel paths they’ve travelled for decades, Music From the Early 21st Century marks the first time that Cline has played with Saft and his first time working with Previte in an improvisatory context. While Saft and Previte share a decades-long relationship, Cline and Previte had only recently joined forces for the first time in two of the drummer’s projects: “Terminals,” a set of concertos in which they played separately as soloists with Sō Percussion; and Rhapsody, a stunning song cycle on which Cline atypically played acoustic guitar.