Jazz guitarist Julian Lage is somewhat of a child prodigy -- playing his instrument at the age of five and performing in public a year later. Shortly thereafter, Lage began playing with such renowned artists as Carlos Santana (when he was only eight years old!), Pat Metheny, Kenny Werner, Toots Thielemans, Martin Taylor, and David Grisman, among others, resulting in Lage being the subject of the 1997 Academy Award-nominated documentary film Jules at Eight. In addition to performing, Lage has recorded as a duo with Grisman (the 1999 release Dawg Duos), and contributed a fine cover of "In a Sentimental Mood" with Martin Taylor and David Grisman, to the 2000 compilation Acoustic Disc: 100% Handmade Music, Vol. 5. Lage has also appeared at numerous jazz concerts/festivals and performed at the 2000 Grammy Awards. In 2009, Lage released his debut solo album, Sounding Point, on Emarcy. The album was widely celebrated as the arrival of a new and authoritative voice on the instrument.
This was followed by the concept album Gladwell in 2011. He fronted a quintet that featured bassist Jorge Roeder, tenor saxophonist Dan Blake, cellist Aristides Rivas, and drummer/percussionist Tupac Mantilla.
The guitarist switched labels for 2013's Free Flying. Issued on Palmetto Records, it was recorded in duet with pianist Fred Hersch.
The duo format apparently agreed with Lage, though its focus shifted a bit. In 2014, he issued two such albums.The first was Avalon with guitarist Chris Eldridge. Produced by the Milk Carton Kids' Kenneth Pattengale, it contained bluegrass, folk, jazz, and classic pop standards; the pair called it a "love letter to the acoustic guitar." Lage's second 2014 album, Room, with fellow jazz guitarist Nels Cline, appeared on Mack Avenue. Its focus was on a range of material, from intricately composed and complex works to free and spontaneous improvisations.
In 2016, Lage released the trio album Arclight with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Produced by Grammy-winning guitarist/songwriter Jesse Harris (Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux), the album featured the single "Nocturne." A five song EP, Live in Los Angeles, followed later that year documenting concert versions of songs from Arclight. In early 2017, Lage reunited with Chris Eldridge for a second volume of acoustic guitar duets called Mount Royal. ~ Greg Prato & Thom Jurek