Cline Crafts Ambitious Double Album with 23-Piece Ensemble


Nels Cline will perform songs from his new album, Lovers, at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 31.

(Photo: Courtesy Blue Note Records)

On August 5, Blue Note will release guitarist Nels Cline’s ambitious double album Lovers, which features a 23-piece ensemble of woodwinds, brass and strings. The 18-track program was arranged and conducted by Michael Leonhart, who’s famous for his work with Karrin Allyson, Donald Fagen and Rufus Wainwright.

Lovers includes Cline’s original compositions, as well as interpretations of Great American Songbook standards and songs by Sonic Youth and Arto Lindsay.

“I have been dreaming about, planning and re-working my rather obsessive idea of this record for well over 25 years, and it was always going to be called Lovers,” Cline said. “It is meant to be as personal in its sound and in its song selection as it is universal in its endeavor to assay or map the parameters of ‘mood’ as it once pertained, and currently pertains, to the perculiar and powerful connection between sound/song and intimacy/romance. In this I hope Lovers offers something of an update of the ‘mood music’ idea and ideal, while celebrating and challenging our iconic notion of romance.”

The guitarist, who leads the avant-garde band Nels Cline Singers and is also a member of the rock band Wilco, assembled an amazing array of talent for Lovers. Among the acclaimed musicians on the album are Steven Bernstein (trumpet, slide trumpet, flugelhorn), Erik Friedlander (cello), Ben Goldberg (clarinet), Julian Lage (acoustic and electric guitars), Kenny Wollesen (vibraphone, marimba) and the leader’s brother, Alex Cline, who plays drums and percussion.

Nels Cline will premiere the album at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 31. He will also present the material next year at UCLA in Los Angeles and SFJAZZ in San Francisco.

Lovers will be available in digital, CD and vinyl formats.

(Note: To watch a video of Nels Cline performing the new track “Beautiful Love,” click here.)

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