Dan Kline Band explores new sounds on “Shifting Borders”

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Violinist Dave Kline presents a new album that is rich in sound and texture. With his ensemble, Dave Kline Band, Kline delves into urban soundscapes using his violin as a means to explore jazz.

Violin and the sound of Dave Kline Band

Violins in jazz are not new, necessarily. But for some listeners, the idea of violins evokes music genres other than jazz. Bluegrass, pop, and of course, classical, have made great use of the instrument.

Violins are great for expressing emotion. Bowing can be performed slowly so that each shred of feeling is drawn across the strings. Or, for faster expressions, short bursts, or even picking have been done. Jason Kao Hwang is another contemporary jazz performer who uses the violin with great success.

Dave Kline Band was in search of an urban sound, and it seemed odd that they could achieve such with a violin playing a predominant role in the soundscape.

“Shifting Borders” by Dave Kline Band

Early into the listening of this disc, I realized that the violin had almost taken up the space that a guitar might occupy. Particularly on “Paris,” and “Shazam Returns,” the violin displayed strength and flexibility. Often, such as on “Fire,” it nearly screamed and cried with a guitar’s muscular feel. Then, the two string instruments played one at a time, and it was a bit easier to tell which was which.

Kline’s playing is avant-garde and confident. The urban groove of “Fire” is given texture and bite because of how he plays. Just when listeners have settled on what they now believe a violin “should” sound like, Kline shifts gears. On “Enfin,” a short song of fewer than two minutes, the violin saws prettily over the hearty rhythm of an acoustic guitar.

With “Shifting Borders,” Kline wanted to display his worldview. Through music, and more specifically, the qualities of the violin, Kline sought to show how quickly the world changes, and to symbolize his world travels. By playing the violin in a way that challenges what listeners think about the instrument, Kline does exactly that.

In addition, Kline’s band represents an inclusive, globally-aware perspective. His group includes members from Haiti, Colombia, Senegal, Canada, Argentina, and the United States.

“Shifting Borders” will be available Sept. 1, 2017.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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