Drummer and percussionist Alex Cline has been active in West Coast jazz and new music scenes since the late '70s. Cline and his twin brother, guitarist Nels Cline, were born and raised in Los Angeles, where they began making music together at a fairly young age. Perhaps one of their most-recognized groups together is Quartet Music, an award-winning '80s band with violinist Jeff Gauthier and bassist Eric Von Essen. Although Quartet Music disbanded in the mid-'90s, Cline continued to collaborate with some of its members in different ensembles since, such as Gregg Bendian's Interzone, G.E. Stinson Group, and the Jeff Gauthier Quartet, as well as his own Alex Cline Ensemble. Cline has, in fact, led dates during the '80s and '90s for ECM, Vinny Golia's 9 Winds label, and Cryptogramophone. Cline also formed Duo Infinity with woodwinds player Jamil Shabaka, led the improvised music trio, Spiral, and staged occasional solo performances over the decades. His numerous projects allowed him to utilize the large collection of percussion instruments (particularly Asian metal instruments) he had acquired over the years.
By 2000, Cline had performed on over 40 recordings with a number of notable leaders including Julius Hemphill (he played in Hemphill's trio as well as in his JAH Band) and Vinny Golia (in various ensembles). Alex Cline has also performed with such renowned musicians as Charlie Haden, John Carter, and Tim Berne. He has worked on film soundtracks, collaborated and performed with Los Angeles area dance companies, and given lectures, percussion workshops, and clinics. The late '90s found Cline active in some of the previously mentioned groups as well as in the European band, Shooting Stars and Traffic Lights, and the Bobby Bradford Mo'tet. In 2000, he enjoyed the release of his second led date for Cryptogramophone, entitled The Other Shore.