Jeff Tweedy, Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline
Corbett vs. Dempsey presents the fifth incarnation of its Sequesterfest series, this time as part of the program for EXPO CHGO ONLINE art fair, presented as part of The Quarantine Concert series, which has been streaming live music and audio art directly into people's homes since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Jazz musicians call it woodshedding. Time apart, to develop one's own sound or ideas. Time out. A turn in the shed. Sonny Rollins in hiatus on the Williamsburg Bridge. We've been in an enforced year-long woodshed. In this episode of Sequesterfest, we consider the fate of the ensemble in a time of isolation, turning attention to one of Chicago's most adventurous and beloved bands: Wilco. With a self-determined sensibility that breathes life into the moribund notion of independence in alternative music, Wilco has managed to balance experimentation and rock song-smithing with great deftness, producing a quarter century worth of gems, including Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, The Whole Love, and 2019's Ode To Joy.
Sequesterfest 5 singles out three members of Wilco – singer and guitarist (and most recently author!) Jeff Tweedy, guitarist Nels Cline, and drummer Glenn Kotche – inviting them to show how a few seasons off-road adds up. To be truthful, they're all adept at navigating unaccompanied scenarios, with lengthy discographies apart from Wilco that include an impressive number of solo releases. Along with other bands like On Fillmore and Loose Fur, Kotche has recorded five CDs of solo percussion, highlighting his own compositions; the sensitivity to nuances of time and timbre in his playing bring to mind Levon Helm and Bun E. Carlos, with Bonham-esque rock-out-ability filtered through an experimentally-minded improvisor's ear. Cline's extraordinary solos are an integral part of the Wilco experience (hear, for instance, "Impossible Germany" on Sky Blue Sky), and he draws on four decades in creative music, with a shockingly rich list of projects (42 of them, but who's counting?) as a leader. On his solo records, Tweedy spotlights the results of a songwriting method he generously unpacks in his brilliant new book How To Write One Song; for this event, he has suggested that we may be watching that process unfold in real time via spontaneous improvisation.
Solo sets by these three Wilco-ites. Sequesterfest 5 unveils brand new music. Accept the paradox: expect surprises. Three monadic performers defying isolation, playing until everywhere is here.