Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

You know him today as the lead guitarist for Wilco. But in fact, Nels Cline (along with his twin brother Alex) has for over 30 years been a major force in improvised music. Much of his work is far too experimental to comfortably be pigeonholed into jazz or any other genre; that said, Cline has bona fides, having worked with Charlie Haden and Wadada Leo Smith among others, and even recorded an album-length cover (John Coltrane‘s Interstellar Space). Most of his recent focus (besides Wilco, of course) has been on his freeform trio, the Nels Cline Singers. There are no singers in the Nels Cline singers—-only Cline, bassist Devin Hoff, and drummer Scott Amendola. They make music that is noisy, angry, stately, and beautiful, without any contradictions among those adjectives: Check out their recent half-studio/half-live double CD, Initiate (Cryptogramophone), for evidence of such. But better yet, go hear them play.

They’ll be at the Black Cat backstage, 1811 14th St. NW at 9 p.m. (with Insect Factory). $15.