terça-feira, 31 de julho de 2018

Nels Cline ‎– Lovers (2016)

Style: Contemporary Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Blue Note

Tracklist:
1-01.   Introduction / Diaphanous
1-02.    Glad To Be Unhappy
1-03.    Beautiful Love
1-04.   Hairpin & Hatbox
1-05.   Cry, Want
1-06.   Lady Gabor
1-07.   The Bed We Made
1-08.   You Noticed
1-09.   Secret Love
1-10.   I Have Dreamed
2-01.   Why Was I Born?
2-02.   Invitation
2-03.   It Only Has To Happen Once
2-04.   The Night Porter / Max, Mon Amour
2-05.   Snare, Girl
2-06.   So Hard It Hurts / Touching
2-07.   The Search For Cat
2-08.   The Bond (For Yuka)

Credits:
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Julian Lage
Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone – Douglas Wieselman
Bassoon – Sara Schoenbeck
Celesta, Synthesizer – Yuka C Honda
Cello – Erik Friedlander, Maggie Parkins
Clarinet [Bb Clarinet], Alto Saxophone – Gavin Templeton
Contra-Alto Clarinet, Clarinet – Ben Goldberg
Contrabass, Bass Guitar – Devin Hoff
Drums, Percussion – Alex Cline
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Effects – Nels Cline
Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Clarinet, Alto Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Saxophone – JD Parran
Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet – Charles Pillow
Harp – Zeena Parkins
Trombone, Bass Trombone – Alan Ferber
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Cimbalom, Celesta – Michael Leonhart
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Valve Trombone – Taylor Haskins
Trumpet, Trumpet (Slide Trumpet), Flugelhorn, Alto Horn – Steven Bernstein
Vibraphone, Marimba, Percussion – Kenny Wollesen
Viola – Stephanie Griffin
Violin – Antoine Silverman, Jeff Gauthier
Violin, Viola – Amy Kimball

Fans of Nels Cline are accustomed to his adaptability. After starting his career in jazz’s progressive currents—and playing alongside saxophonist Julius Hemphill—the guitarist later became a member of Wilco, starting with Sky Blue Sky. He’s also maintained a feverish schedule as a solo artist: participating in improv-noise summits with Thurston Moore and recording an album with the fusionists in Medeski, Martin & Wood. 
Still, ardent followers of this guitarist may be unprepared for his latest reinvention. Romantic “mood music” isn’t what most listeners expect from him—even if refined, soft-touch playing has long been one aspect of his overall sound. On his 2xCD debut for the Blue Note label, Cline has delivered a chamber-orchestra set that’s notable for relying on some “Great American Songbook” standards by the likes of Jerome Kern and Rodgers & Hammerstein. 
This isn’t a setup for some punkish deconstruction, either. The album starts off with a quarter-hour that sounds surprisingly straight-ahead. (Even the adventurous touches in the early going can be traced back to Gil Evans, Miles Davis’ sometime big-band arranger). Cline and his talented supporting musicians play “Glad to Be Unhappy” without any hint of camp—instead endeavoring to treat familiar themes with tenderness. Outside of those performances, the album offers some pensive Cline originals, as well as covers that wouldn’t normally be assigned to a “standards” group. 
It’s this final batch of songs that gives Lovers an edge. The inclusion of pieces by experimentalist Arto Lindsay and Third Stream saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre honors Cline’s diverse fascinations, yet what's more interesting is the way that Cline makes these compositions seem like natural extensions of a program that also includes music by Henry Mancini. After Cline and his band have moved on from Tin Pan Alley in order to visit No Wave New York, the “for lovers only” feel is maintained. The orchestra’s performances may briefly include rougher attacks, though not to such a degree that the album’s conceit is ever risked. 
Much credit for this unusual achievement is due to conductor and arranger Michael Leonhart—as well as to the cast of contemporary-music ringers that Cline has assembled for his backing ensemble. Harpist Zeena Parkins, cellist Erik Friedlander, and keyboardist Yuka Honda are all familiar to frequenters of America’s experimental music venues, though you’ve rarely heard them as restrained as they are on Lovers. 
Initially, this can feel like a waste of good avant power. But over the course of the album, the benefits become clear. Leonhart’s arrangement of the melody to Sonic Youth’s “Snare, Girl,” goes well with the mournful lyricism of Rodgers’s “I Have Dreamed.” And a droning, exploratory version of Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo’s “Lady Gabor” winds up sharing a sound-world with Lindsay’s Ambitious Lovers track “It Only Has To Happen Once.” 
Cline’s guitar playing delights in this parade of upset expectations, too—sounding dirtier in Kern’s “Why Was I Born?” than during the various resettings of modernist rock. He plays lap steel during “Dreamed,” and swings amiably on other vintage cuts like “Beautiful Love” and “Secret Love.” The only task he doesn’t quite pull off is the composition of original themes that stand with the classics he’s selected. Almost half of the first CD is made up of Cline originals, and these pale a bit in comparison with the surrounding material. Though thanks to its sly and measured embrace of the experimental, Lovers still has all the originality it needs to endear.
Seth Colter Walls / Pitchfork

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