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Album Review

The term "concept album" is usually used in connection with rock, but jazz has had its concept albums as well (Charles Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain, for example, are among jazz's most celebrated concept albums). Gladwell is a concept album from jazz guitarist/composer Julian Lage; in the liner notes, Lage explains that he envisioned this 2010 recording as an aural depiction of "an imaginary and forgotten town known as Gladwell." Lage doesn't use any lyrics to depict his fictional town: Gladwell is strictly instrumental. And Lage, who is heard on both acoustic and electric guitar, is appealingly melodic on his own compositions (which dominate Gladwell), as well as a performance of the standard "Autumn Leaves." As a guitarist, Lage favors an airy sound along the lines of Pat Metheny and Jim Hall, and as a composer, his influences range from Metheny to Oregon to Weather Report. Lage is not a jazz purist; this is jazz mixed with elements of rock, folk, and European classical music. Gladwell is fusion (there is no shame attached to that word), but it isn't the aggressive and heavily amplified fusion one might associate with Scott Henderson & Tribal Tech, Niacin, or early Al di Meola. Actually, the playing on this album is largely, though not exclusively, acoustic. Lage plays a lot of acoustic guitar on Gladwell, and his bassist, Jorge Roeder, is heard on upright bass exclusively (rounding out the quintet lineup are tenor saxophonist Dan Blake, cellist Aristides Rivas, and drummer/percussionist Tupac Mantilla). And while Lage clearly has chops, he doesn't beat listeners over the head with them, or his technique. Lage is very much a storyteller, and that storyteller perspective yields excellent results on Gladwell.

Customer Reviews

Beyond Unique....

It's rare for an artist to have such an original voice/stylistic pressence in the jazz genre, considering the weight of influence
from the founding 'fathers'. Lage somehow manages to avoid EVERY cliche known to jazz to come up with something so
unique and deep, that mere words on a page cannot do him justice. This is his second release and it's simply breathtaking
from start to finish, ebbing and flowing through a variety of stylistic shifts and moods, yet cohesive and complete in every
aspect. This will be a new benchmark for the newer generations of players to aspire to. SImply in a league of his own.


Like the previous review stated: words can not do this cd justice. This album is simply fantastic. Its entirely original in every way. Lage's style has grown so dramatically in comparison to his earlier recordings, and its this growth that is going to set him apart from is contemporaries. A must buy.

Top Albums and Songs by Julian Lage Group

Gladwell, Julian Lage Group
View in iTunes
  • $8.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Rock
  • Released: Jan 01, 2011

Customer Ratings