CD Review: Douglas J. Cuomo’s “Seven Limbs” – Ft. Nels Cline and the Aizuri Quartet

From Take Effect

October 28th 2021

The composer Douglas J. Cuomo sure found himself some talent for these 7 compositions that welcome Nels Cline and his unparalleled guitar playing as well as the Grammy nominated Aizuri Quartet. An album very much inspired by Buddhism, which Cuomo practices, the stillness, turmoil, euphoria and even drama found within certainly mirrors the tenets of the religion, and are executed with Cuomo’s profound vision.


“Prostration” starts the listen with Cline’s shimmering guitar playing that radiates both warmth and mystery, and it’s not long until the emotive strings enter the bare but impactful climate, and “Offering” follows with a swifter display of charming string interaction as they dance around either other amid Cline’s flawless guitar manipulation that even flirts with post-rock ideas.


Halfway through, “Confession & Purification” offers stirring intimacy, where the strings tell a story of reflection and are both bowed and plucked, while “Rejoicing” takes a large step into firmer waters where the strings are used nearly percussively amid the bright and playful dynamics.


“Beseeching” lands near the end and allows Cline to showcase his electronic skills in a very tense, cinematic landscape of daring song craft, and “Dedication” exits the listen with much beauty in the calm, dreamy and even soothing finish to a very meticulous record.


A body of work penned specifically for Cline and the quartet, though at its core it may be a jazz improvisation affair, the orchestral, chamber and classical moments certainly won’t go unnoticed, and the strong collaboration between all the players and Cuomo makes for some of his best work to date.


Listen to Seven Limbs here.

Read album press release here.

Watch excerpt from performance at Moss Arts Center here.

Learn more about Douglas J. Cuomo here, or visit: schott-music.com. Douglas J. Cuomo Seven Limbs (2021) for electric guitar and string quartet 75'