By the release of Modern Lore (Mack Avenue, 2018), Julian Lage had fully established his very own style of modern jazz, one arising directly from his approach to the electric guitar. Justifiably proud of what he's accomplished to date, yet not content to rest on his laurels, Lage stretches himself on Love Hurts, simultaneously freshening the appeal of his sound and offering marked contrasts to his previous works. He enlists new musicians to accompany him and chooses to work mostly with covers, rather than self-penned material.
It's not fair to compare one set of musicians with another because any player of pedigree brings his or her own personality to a project. But even as both bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King (from The Bad Plus) display an uncommon restraint in contributing to these roughly four to six minute tracks, they are both sufficiently assertive to rise above the designation "the rhythm section."
All three musicians proceed with care, but not undue caution. They carefully follow the oblique progression of Ornette Coleman's "Tomorrow is the Question," but are more freewheeling in their insistent approach to "The Windup." The rendering of this Keith Jarrett number leads with unusual logic to a fairly straightforward rendering of the title song, which has been covered by artists as disparate as the Everly Brothers, Nazareth and Roy Orbison.
In addition to its other novel distinctions, Love Hurts also marks Julian Lage's first full-fledged assumption of the producer's role. This significant mark of his maturity, comparable to other noteworthy milestones as bandleader, composer and player, deserves recognition on a number of fronts, one of which he shares with mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen: the clean and uncluttered sound of the recording reflects well on both men, particularly during moments like those when the guitarist plucks harmonics to highlight Jimmy Giuffre's "Trudgin.'" The notes hang in the air, sweet and tantalizing to the ears, like so many of the others that precede them on this LP.
In Heaven; Tomorrow Is the Question; The Windup; Love Hurts; In Circles; Encore (A); Lullaby; Trudgin’; I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; Crying.
Julian Lage: guitar; Jorge Roeder: bass; Dave King: drums.
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