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Sounding Point

Julian Lage

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Album Review

Julian Lage is a member of a peer group of young modern jazz guitarists who include Lionel Loueke, Adam Rogers, Ben Monder, Lage Lund, and Joel Harrison. His open-ended acoustic-oriented sound pays homage to Ralph Towner and Jim Hall, while incorporating various European classical elements, excluding flamenco. He's at times exciting or laid-back with little middle ground, emphasizing the melodic aspects of his sound, also exploring pure improvisation on occasion. This recording showcases Lage in various solo, duo, trio, and quartet settings, with help from American pianist Taylor Eigsti, Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder, and banjo icon Béla Fleck, with mandolinist Chris Thile, soprano saxophonist Ben Roseth, and hand percussionist Tupac Mantilla. The trio tracks with Fleck and Thile approach superhuman proportions with remarkable interplay, as they fly through the David Grisman-like "dawgrass" piece "The Informant," the playful "Alameda," and the more spatial "Long Day, Short Night." The self-explanatory trio track "Quiet, Through and Through" with Roseth and Roeder is quite different and owns a borderline ECM stance, parallel to the music of Oregon. The duets between Eigsti and Lage include the improvised underground ruminating blues of "Tour One" and a slow and loose version of "All Blues." Another standard, "Lil' Darlin'" from the Count Basie book, is wonderfully adapted with guitar, bass, and percussion in a modal darker spirit song mood that bears repeated listenings to hear all the subtle underpinnings. Of the full quartet tracks, "Clarity" is astounding in its variations, from free or balladic to a lively 6/8 beat with Mantilla's insistent frame drum, while "Motor Minder" is subdued, but similarly spirited. Lage's solo work owes to Towner's lithe and startling technique, as "Familiar Posture" and "Constructive Rest" both fare well in comparison to his clear and present influence. This is as impressive a debut recording as you'll hear from the plethora of jazz guitarists who dot the landscape. Its diversity, depth of character, and high level of musicianship bode well for the future of Julian Lage — a legitimate rising star. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

future of jazz guitar is here

ive listened to julian play in california and he is simply beyond words. he is in my opinion the future of jazz having studied and played in so many different styles. he does not sound like the typical jazz prodigy. he sounds like an old soul. the album speaks for itself. i have no interest except in seeing the best of jazz coming forward in an age where pop music is king. good work julian.... peace

Must have for Jazz Guitarist's

Julian is a technical master. His ideas are brilliant. He's unique. He's young. His tone (Manzer Archtop) is incredible. This young man has an incredible future. Give this album a try, trust me.

Wow, wow, and more wow

I have never heard an album this stikingly original and unique. Certainly a must-buy for any jazz fan, or any fan of music in general. Bela Fleck sounds Fantastic, as does Chris Thile, and Lage's ensemble is locked to the max. I will be sure to catch him live on any show on the West Coast, and I would encourage anyone who is into good music to do the same. This is the first record of a future legend of his instrument.


Born: 1988

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Jazz guitarist Julian Lage is somewhat of a child prodigy — playing his instrument since 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...
Full Bio
Sounding Point, Julian Lage
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Customer Ratings

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