All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

Julian Lage: Arclight

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Julian Lage's star has been on the rise since the premiere of Julian at Eight—the award winning 1997 documentary short about the precocious guitar prodigy's childhood years. Since then, Lage has become a key collaborator to modern masters like Gary Burton, Jim Hall and Fred Hersch. Lage's widely acclaimed virtuosity is uncontestable, yet he remains a tonal traditionalist—an aspect reinforced on Arclight, the first recording to feature him exclusively playing a solid body electric guitar. Despite the overdriven twang of his Fender Telecaster, he continues to eschew unnecessary efx that would diminish the clarity of his crystalline cadences.

Joined by upright bassist Scott Colley (a fellow band mate from Burton's group) and ubiquitous Downtown drummer Kenny Wollesen, Lage narrows his focus to concentrate on original material that evokes the folksy quality heard in Keith Jarrett's beloved 1970s American Quartet. Providing historical context and stylistic continuity, he rounds out the session's delightfully appealing program with a handful of obscure Great American Songbook standards from the pre-bop era.

The end result is a brisk but bracing affair, with few cuts lasting over four minutes. Lage and company spin minor variations on each of the catchy numbers' melodic, harmonic and rhythmic foundations without undue extrapolation—an approach suggested by producer and singer-songwriter Jesse Harris, who wisely encouraged the trio to stick with first takes, capturing the spontaneous energy of their initial renditions.

Exuberant tunes like "Activate" and the surf-inflected "Prospero" careen with rollicking abandon, while "Stop Go Start" provides introspective respite, exuding the sort of aleatoric impressionism heard on Room (Mack Avenue, 2015), Lage's sublime duet with fellow guitar wizard Nels Cline. The record's four cover tunes unveil Lage's Americana influences, especially his more Frisellian tendencies, as heard in a rustic ramble through W.C. Handy's soulful "Harlem Blues."

Colley and Wollesen's adroit interplay provides far more than mere time keeping, but with each piece no longer than the average pop song, the majority of the spotlight inevitably shines on the leader, whose brief but tasteful solos brim with flinty turns of phrase and darting fretboard runs. Emblematic of its title, Arclight reveals another facet of Lage's burgeoning artistry, finding him moving beyond the acoustic asceticism that defined his earliest recordings and into a more expansive mode of expression.

Track Listing: Fortune Teller; Persian Rug; Nocturne; Supera; Stop Go Start; Activate; Presley; Prospero; I'll Be Seeing You; Harlem Blues; Ryland.

Personnel: Julian Lage: guitar;Scott Colley: bass; Kenny Wollesen: drums, percussion.

Title: Arclight | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Radio
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Modern Lore

Modern Lore

Mack Avenue Records
2018

buy
Arclight

Arclight

Mack Avenue Records
2016

buy
World's Fair

World's Fair

Modern Lore Records
2015

buy
 

Gladwell

EmArcy
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Basement Sessions Vol. 4 (The Bali Tapes)" CD/LP/Track Review Basement Sessions Vol. 4 (The Bali Tapes)
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 28, 2018
Read "Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited" CD/LP/Track Review Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Blue Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Dream
by Doug Collette
Published: July 9, 2018
Read "Bluer Than Velvet: The Prysock Project" CD/LP/Track Review Bluer Than Velvet: The Prysock Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 29, 2018
Read "GRANITE" CD/LP/Track Review GRANITE
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 22, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 16, 2018