It’s business as usual at Blue Note with classic adventurous bebop on the way this summer from Joe Lovano. But there’s room for a change in the air too that arrives with news that Wilco alt. rocker Nels Cline, no stranger to British jazz audiences, has signed to the most famous label in jazz.

A double album called Lovers kicks things off, the label says it is inspired by the likes of Bill Evans, Jim Hall, Gil Evans, Johnny Mandel and Henry Mancini. 

Arranged by Michael Leonhart who also plays trumpet on the album... “it is meant to be as personal in its sound and in its song selection as it is universal in its endeavour to assay or map the parameters of ‘mood’ as it once pertained, and currently pertains, to the peculiar and powerful connection between sound/song and intimacy/romance” says Cline, 60, who comes originally from Los Angeles and who joined Wilco in 2004.  He also says he hopes Lovers “offers something of an update of the ‘mood music’ idea and ideal, while celebrating and challenging our iconic notion of romance.” 

Lovers contains originals, Great American Songbook standards (eg Glad To Be Unhappy, Beautiful Love, I Have Dreamed, Secret Love, Why Was I Born, Invitation) and songs by Sonic Youth (Snare, Girl), Arto Lindsay (It Only Has To Happen Once), Jimmy Giuffre (Cry Want), Gabor Szabo and Annette Peacock (So Hard It Hurts/Touching). Personnel sees bass guitarist Devin Hoff, guitarist Julian Lage, Cline’s twin brother drummer Alex Cline, and Sex Mob’s Steven Bernstein on slide trumpet join Cline as does an augmented reed section (bassoon nicely snuck in) plus strings and the inclusion of a place for harp and vibes. SG

The lush, ultimately swinging, treatment of Beautiful Love from the album is up top.