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Lage Lund: Idlewild

Andrew Luhn By

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Guitarist Lage Lund's previous two albums as a leader for the Criss Cross label utilized the quartet setting with Ben Street on bass, Bill Stewart on drums, and Aaron Parks on piano for 2013's Foolhardy and Edward Simon in the piano chair for 2009's Unlikely Stories. For 2015's release "Idlewild" Lund brings back his familiar rhythm section of Street and Stewart but omits the piano, opting for a guitar trio approach on twelve tunes, a mixture of originals and standards.

The album opens with a Lund original, "Rumspringa" which features a long, twisting melody accompanied subtly by overdubbed comping from Lund on acoustic guitar. The sound of the trio is everything it should be. There is give and take in equal measure from each member of the group that leads to a dynamic, ever-shifting sound. Lund plays confidently but with sense of space and patience that is reminiscent of Bill Frisell's trio work.

Harold Arlen's classic "Come Rain or Come Shine" is introduced by a short guitar solo before the trio swings their way through the reharmonized tune at a stately tempo. Cole Porter's "So In Love" is taken at a little brighter tempo, with a driving straight-8's feel, while the band swings hard on an exciting version of Bobby Hutcherson's "Isn't This My Sound Around Me?" Here Lund delivers one of his best solos on the record and Stewart adds to the excitement with busy, but always appropriate comping on the drums.

Next the trio delivers a slow, space-y version of Joe Chambers' seldom-covered tune "Mirrors" which first appeared on the excellent Freddie Hubbard album Breaking Point. Another Cole Porter tune, "Just One of Those Things" is taken at a brisk swing with Bill Stewart keeping the textures interesting during the lengthy solos. The title track closes out the disk with a lengthy and episodic original by Lund. The track is slow and spacious, giving Lund plenty of opportunity to explore melody above the backgrounds of the overdubbed guitar.

The guitar trio can be a challenging format, especially on an hour-long album. Lund, Street, and Stewart do an excellent job of mixing styles, textures, originals, and standards over the course of this hour for a fine trio album. The trio especially shines on the original tracks that open and close the album, but several of the cover tracks are noteworthy as well. It's obvious that these three musicians have a close familiarity with each other and that familiarity is important when playing in a setting as intimate as this one. Lage Lund is credited as the leader of this group but it is the playing of the trio as a whole that succeeds here.

Track Listing: Rumspringa; Intro to Rain; Come Rain or Come Shine; So In Love; Isn't This My Sound Around Me?; Mirrors; Just One of Those Things; Intro to Chance; Chance; Good Morning Heartache; Straight Street; Idlewild

Personnel: Lage Lund: Guitar; Ben Street: Bass; Bill Stewart: Drums

Title: Idlewild | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Criss Cross

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