23

Nels Cline: Lovers

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Nels Cline: Lovers No one can accuse guitarist Nels Cline of being predictable. He has recorded with his avant-garde trio the Nels Cline Singers most consistently (with bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola), but also led larger groups, such as the one on New Monastery (Cryptogramophone, 2006). More recently there was his duet with guitarist Julian Lage on Room (Mack Avenue, 2014), not to mention his membership in the rock group Wilco since 2004. His Blue Note debut Lovers is a unique entry in his discography: an expansive update of the romantic "mood music" genre, which he has been thinking about for over 25 years. The chamber orchestra arranged and conducted by Michael Leonhart is a defining part of the sound. The ensemble includes several previous Cline collaborators: bassist Devin Hoff, drummer Alex Cline, guitarist Julian Lage, harpist Zeena Parkins, and violinist Jeff Gauthier, to name a few. Although there are some prominent individual voices, it's very much a group sound, with Cline as spotlighted soloist.

The double-disc's 18 tracks cover a wide range of material. The Great American Songbook is well represented, including "Beautiful Love," "Secret Love, " "I Have Dreamed" and others. Jazz standards include Jimmy Giuffre's "Cry, Want," Gabor Szabo's "Lady Gabor" and Bronislaw Kaper's "Invitation." There are also five Cline originals, plus more recent cover material. Cline's guitar playing can be edgy, but opener "Introduction/Diaphanous" gives notice that things will be different, as Cline turns in a beautiful straight-ahead jazz guitar solo. He plays the head on Rodgers & Hart's "Glad To Be Unhappy," even using octaves some of the time. That's a sound that unavoidably recalls the seminal jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, who took a lot of flack for making crossover recordings with orchestra much like this one.

Cline does use his customary electronic effects, although more sparingly than usual. "Cry, Want" includes a bit of discreet whammy bar; "Lady Gabor" opens with very electronic-sounding looping effects; and lap steel with volume swells takes the lead on "I Have Dreamed" and "Why Was I Born." Cline's adventurous tendencies are perhaps most visible in some of his song choices. "Snare, Girl" is a tribute to Sonic Youth, while the Ambitious Lovers ' "It Only Has To Happen Once" is a nod to guitarists Arto Lindsay and Marc Ribot. The Annette Peacock medley of "So Hard It Hurts/Touching" sounds the most like a track on other Nels Cline albums—it's the sort of cover material he favors.

Cline's discography is so varied that it's hard to know exactly what to expect from him. But it's safe to say that no one was expecting something like this. Lovers is a beautifully realized project that showcases a new facet of Cline's composing and playing. It's a quiet stunner, sure to win over anyone approaching it with open ears.

Track Listing: CD 1: Introduction/Diaphanous; Glad to Be Unhappy; Beautiful Love; Hairpin & Hatbox; Cry, Want; Lady Gabor; The Bed We Made; You Noticed; Secret Love; I Have Dreamed. CD2: Why Was I Born?; Invitation; It Only Has to Happen Once; The Night Porter/Max, Mon Amour; Snare, Girl; So Hard It Hurts/Touching; The Search for Cat; The Bond.

Personnel: Nels Cline: chitarra elettrica, acustica, lap steel, elettronica; Devin Hoff: contrabbasso, basso elettrico; Alex Cline: batteria, percussioni; Steven Bernstein: tromba, tromba slide, flicorno, flicorno contralto; Taylor Haskins: tromba, flicorno, trombone a pistoni; Michael Leonhart: tromba, flicorno, celesta, salterio, arrangiamenti; Alan Ferber: trombone, trombone basso; Charles Pillow: flauti, oboe, corno inglese, sassofono contralto, clarinetto; Jd Parran: flauti, clarinetti, sassofono basso e baritono; Ben Goldberg: clarinetti; Doug Wieselman: clarinetti, sax tenore; Gavin Templeton: clarinetto, sassofono contralto; Sara Schoenbeck: fagotto; Julian Lage: chitarra elettrica e acustica; Kenny Wollesen: vibrafono, marimba, percussioni; Zeena Parkins: arpa; Yuka C Honda: celesta, tastiere; Antoine Silverman: violino; Jeff Gauthier: violino; Amy Kimball: viola, violino; Stephanie Griffin: viola; Erik Friedlander: violoncello; Maggie Parkins: violoncello.

Title: Lovers | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Enter the PlusTet" CD/LP/Track Review Enter the PlusTet
by Troy Collins
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "A Dark and Stormy Day" CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.