Nels Cline: Lovers

Album review
Nels Cline:  Lovers

Nels Cline

Lovers

Label: Blue Note
Media: LP
Genre: Jazz
Ratings:
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None of chameleon guitar hero Nels Cline’s many ambitious recordings, during a career that has taken him from the L.A. jazz and rock underground to rock stardom with Wilco, sums up his encyclopedic musical tastes, unfettered creativity, and kaleidoscopic electric, acoustic, and lap steel guitar wizardry like this orchestral double album. Whether it’s a romantic standard (“Secret Love”), an offbeat jazz or rock number (Jimmy Giuffre’s “Cry Want,” Gabor Szabo’s “Lady Gabor,” Sonic Youth’s “Snare Girl”), reimagined film music (Henry Mancini’s “The Search for Cat”), or a Cline original (“Hairpin & Hatbox”), each piece is a night visitor drifting in on a different mood, robed in a unique arrangement by conductor Michael Leonhart, and benefitting in one way or another from 22 musicians who add strings, brass, reeds, drums, percussion, keyboards, and such unusual instruments as celeste, harp, and slide trumpet. Intimate and lovely, abstract and dark, disorienting and hallucinogenic—all qualities befitting Cline’s long-held dream come true—Lovers is a like a postmodern, electronics-and-effects-enriched, outside-veering twist on Miles Davis’ and Gil Evans’ Quiet Nights and the most surprising and absorbing “jazz” album of the year thus far.

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Contributors:
  • primary artist, Nels Cline

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