Sparks Fly Upward  Alex Cline Ensemble

In the spirit of his work on ECM and Nine Winds, Cryptogramophone presents drummer/percussionist Alex Cline's latest CD, "Sparks Fly Upward". This percussion, voice, violin, guitar, keyboard, bass lineup blurs the lines between jazz and contemporary chamber music. CD producer Peter Erskine writes, "This recording is like a very special letter, written by a wise friend; the news it carries is current, but its real message is timeless. The musicianship is inspired. The engineering is translucent. This album…is a gift."


Aina Kemanis
Wayne Peet
Michael Elizondo


1Rose Window (for Karen Cline)11:23
2Pieces of a Mirror (to the memory of Richard Grossman)9:55
3Sparks Fly Upward (to the memory of Andrei Tarkovsky)31:05
4Audacity (to the memory of Tony Williams)9:24
5Sonnet 9 (to the memory of Eric von Essen)10:00


Peter Erskine graciously produced Alex Cline’s Sparks Fly Upward, an album equal in grace and scope to Wrate’s work. (The two releases also share a record label and violinist, Jeff Gauthier.) "Audacity" pays homage to the late, great master Tony William

David Licht, Modern Drummer, 01/07/1999

The difference here is emotion and, as the dedications reveal, the valedictory emotion on this date is understated but quite powerful. And like the music of Arvo Pärt which it sometimes resembles, much of its power comes from understatement.

John Chacona, Signal to Noise, 08/07/1999

Featuring Gauthier, Stinson, keyboardist Wayne Peet, bassist Michael Elizondo, and Bay Area vocalist Aina Kemanis, the ensemble provides an elegant vehicle for six new fascinating Cline compositions. Kemanis accentuates the already dreamlike quality of th

Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian, 28/04/1999

Los Angeles percussionist Alex Cline has performed and recorded solo, also working with West Coast musicians such as Julius Hemphill, John Carter and Bobby Bradford. His sextet explores six complex original compositions that are sometimes ethereal in moo

Patricia Myers, JazzTimes, 01/08/1999

An unconventional percussionist, Alex Cline creates music beyond categorization. With an unusual lineup including Jeff Gauthier's violin and Aina Kemanis' voice, this ensemble establishes a moody, ethereal environment. Sparks Fly Upward offers haunting,

John Andrews, Down Beat, 01/11/1999