4 January 1956, Los Angeles, California, USA. The twin brother of Alex Cline, Nels took an early interest in music and at the age of 11 they were both playing rock, he on guitar, his brother on drums. Favouring contemporary pop and post-rock, he became an in-demand guitarist in Los Angeles. For all his rock leanings, Cline was influenced during his schooldays by the music of John Coltrane, the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Ornette Coleman and other like-minded free spirits of jazz. He played with musicians such as Bobby Bradford, Vinny Golia (making his recording debut on 1979s Openhearted), Charlie Haden and Julius Hemphill. In 1980, Cline began a musical relationship with Eric Von Essen that lasted until the bass players death, notably in their band, Quartet Music, which also featured Alex Cline and Jeff Gauthier.
Throughout his career, Cline has worked in many areas of improvised music, switching back and forth between rock, free...