Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

3

Julian Lage: Living Lage

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
It's good to be Julian Lage. The former wunderkind is all grown up and living large, playing with some of the best musicians on the planet; that makes perfect sense, considering he's also one of them. The young guitarist has done his homework, paid his dues and earned his stripes, and now he's spreading his wings and flying high.

In 2013 alone, Lage hit the road in duo settings with fellow guitarists, like Nels Cline and Chris Eldridge, made the rounds with vibraphonist Gary Burton's New Quartet and drummer Eric Harland's Voyager, and dropped in at the Newport Jazz Festival to play a set with the legendary Jim Hall. With all of his live performances, it's a wonder that he has any time at all to record, but these two documents demonstrate that he's just as busy in the studio as he is on the stage.

The New Gary Burton Quartet

Guided Tour

Mack Avenue Records

2013

Vibraphonist Gary Burton was championing and mentoring Lage before the guitarist was old enough to drive, but that was then and this is now. These days, Burton and Lage are tearing it up together; the student has clearly become a peer.

Guided Tour is the second outing from The New Gary Burton Quartet and the fourth Burton date—following Generations (Concord Jazz, 2004), Next Generation (Concord Jazz, 2005) and Common Ground (Mack Avenue, 2011)—to feature Lage. Together, they make for a formidable front line that can glow or burn; they do both, and a whole lot more, during this ten song program.

Potency and musical intricacy are in the air as the album kicks off with "Caminos"—one of two contributions from drummer Antonio Sanchez—but bluesy banter arrives and dominates on the follow-up tune—Lage's "The Lookout." Burton's "Jane Fonda Called Again" gives Lage a chance to shine out front, as his clean-toned lines draw focus from the start, and the vibes/guitar combination is at play on the head of "Jackalope."

The lone standard on the album—a re-harmonized, Andalusian-encrusted, misty-eyed rendition of "Once Upon A Summertime"—sits in the middle of the program and stands as one of the highlights on the album, but plenty of fantastic music follows it. "Sunday's Uncle," which sounds like a Burton original but belongs to Lage, "Remembering Tano," which has a pseudo-Argentine allure to it, and "Monk Fish," with its fun-and-quirky mannerisms, all deserve high marks.

Burton's "New" quartet isn't exactly new anymore but it delivers fresh and compelling music that reflects its moniker.

Fred Hersch And Julian Lage

Free Flying

Palmetto Records

2013

Pianist Fred Hersch is best known for his solo piano playing and trio work, but he isn't exactly a stranger to the duo format. Over the years, he's done the duo thing on record and/or on stage with everybody from Hall and Burton to vocalist Nancy King and clarinetist Anat Cohen. Now, Lage's name can be added to the list.

On Free Flying, this pair tackles seven Hersch tunes and two classics—"Monk's Dream" and Sam Rivers' "Beatrice." Musical exactitude, emotional weight and the element of surprise are all at play here. Background/Foreground alternation and counterpoint come and go throughout but never work in the same way twice. Sometimes Hersch and Lage are cagey in their dealings, as on "Down Home," but they can also be surprisingly direct, as demonstrated during the touching "Heartland."

Each number gives them an opportunity to show off a different facet of their artistry. "Free Flying" highlights a sense of playfulness and Brazilian buoyancy, "Stealthiness" lives up to its name, and "Monk's Dream" is packaged in nimbler-than-usual fashion; the marriage of clarity and cunning is the only common thread on those three tracks.

Hersch's on-record meeting with guitarist Bill FrisellSongs We Know (Nonesuch, 1998)—was his only guitar-and-piano outing prior to this; maybe it just took him fifteen years to find the right match.

Tracks and Personnel

Guided Tour

Tracks: Caminos; The Lookout; Jane Fonda Called Again; Jackalope; Once Upon A Summertime; Sunday's Uncle; Remembering Tano; Helena; Legacy; Monk Fish.

Personnel: Gary Burton: vibraphone; Julian Lage: guitar; Scott Colley: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.

Free Flying

Tracks: Song Without Words #4: Duet; Down Home (For Bill Frisell); Heartland (For Art Lande); Free Flying (For Egberto Gismonti); Beatrice; Song Without Words #3 Tango; Stealthiness (For Jim Hall); Gravity's Pull (For Mary Jo Salter); Monk's Dream.

Personnel: Fred Hersch: piano; Julian Lage: guitar.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money Multiple Reviews Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money
by Doug Collette
Published: December 29, 2017
Read Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez Abbasi’s Invocation Multiple Reviews Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 27, 2017
Read Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa Multiple Reviews Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney Multiple Reviews The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile Multiple Reviews Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile
by Doug Collette
Published: December 17, 2017
Read The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things Happen Slowly & Open Book" Multiple Reviews Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Cassette Plus Download Labels" Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney" Multiple Reviews The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues" Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017