Nels Cline’s “Lovers (for Philadelphia)”
and Monnette Sudler
June 2, 2018 8:30pm
Ars Nova Workshop, “Philadelphia’s most reliable and ambitious presenter of new jazz and improvised music” (Wire Magazine), is proud to present a new commission to be performed by Nels Cline, lead guitarist for the band Wilco and one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists.”
“Lovers (for Philadelphia)” has been created specifically for and inspired by Philadelphia, and is an expansion of Cline’s ravishing project “Lovers,” released on Blue Note Records in 2016, which “puts an elegant, knowing spin on orchestral jazz” (The New York Times). “Lovers (for Philadelphia)” will be performed on Saturday, June 2, at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
“I have been dreaming about, planning, and re-working my rather obsessive idea for well over 25 years,” says Cline. “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 peculiar 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 first “book” of Lovers material featured originals by Cline along with renditions of love songs by a wild assortment of composers ranging from Rogers & Hammerstein to Hungarian gypsy jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo to noise-rock pioneers Sonic Youth. With support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Ars Nova Workshop has taken Cline on a rich yearlong journey to explore Philadelphia’s extraordinary musical legacy and landscape, not only artistically but in the context of Philadelphia’s long history of innovation. As “Workshop of the World,” Philadelphia has been home to a grand spectrum of developments that have influenced every facet of American life.
Research trips have led Cline on an inspiring journey, through uniquely Philadelphian moments, artifacts, and sites—Jimmy Smith’s organ; Paul Motian’s childhood home; the beginning of Dizzy Gillespie’s career and end of Lee Morgan’s; the continuing home of the Sun Ra Arkestra—and into the memories housed in uniquely Philadelphia institutions—such as the Sigma Sound archives, the Blockson Collection, the Free Library’s orchestral music holdings, and the Curtis Institute archives. He has explored the outstanding minds of Dr. Albert Barnes, Louis Kahn, and three generations of Calder. This only scratches the surface. What has emerged is an autobiographical “second book” of Lovers material, performed one night only, and featuring interpretations of material composed and/or performed by McCoy Tyner, Benny Golson, Paul Motian, Eddie Lang, Sol Kaplan, Ethel Waters, The Delfonics, Brenda & The Tabulations, and more.
“Lovers (for Philadelphia)” will be performed by Cline and an all-star 17-piece ensemble, including conductor-trumpeter Michael Leonhart, drummer Alex Cline, and keyboardist Yuka C. Honda, best known for her work in Cibo Matto. The event will also mark the debut of a new Tired Hands Brewing Company beer co-created and brewed by Cline himself. Additional surprises are in store, with many more details to follow.
Major support for “Lovers (for Philadelphia)” has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Philadelphia guitarist-composer Monnette Sudler has performed and recorded extensively, including collaborations with Hugh Masakela, Grover Washington Jr., Odean Pope, poet Sonia Sanchez, Khan Jamal and the Sounds of Liberation, Sunny Murray’s Untouchable Factor, and the Sam Rivers Big Band. Monnette is the recipient of the Transformation award from the Leeway Foundation 2011 and Leeway Art and Change grant 2014. Sudler is the founder and artistic director of the Philadelphia Guitar Summit going into its 8th year which includes an annual concert, and workshops for inter-generational audiences. Monnette Sudler was given the Jazz Legacy Award 2016 by Senator Vincent Hughes and Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes along with Pat Martino, McCoy Tyner, Sonia Sanchez, Jymie Merritt, and Howard Carroll of the Dixie Hummingbirds. Ms. Sudler just completed working with the People’s Light Theater’s Presentation of “Nat King Cole Lights Out”.
$20 (standing), $35 (seated), $125* (VIP)