Julian Lage: Squint

Editor's Choice

Rating: ★★★★

Record and Artist Details


Julian Lage (g)


Blue Note


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Rec. date not stated

Lage was first signed by a major recording company back in 2008, and on Sounding Point and Gladwell on Universal's EmArcy label, his undeniable prowess as an instrumentalist was not in doubt, the problem was one of context. Today, a high degree of technical skill on an instrument has become a given – the challenge is not that of the newest gunslinger in town, blowing everyone away, but creating an original context to function as a jazz musician.

Older and wiser, Lage has now been signed to the Blue Note label by Don Was, and he has surrounded himself with his regular working group which debuted on Mack Avenue's Love Hurts in 2019. Wise decision. On ‘Bloo's Blues’ and ‘Saint Rose, two standout tracks in an album of exemplary originals, Lage, Roeder and King demonstrate the all important group empathy to the extent his “guitar trio” has a group sound that somehow exceeds its individual component parts. In a band of equals, Lage is, of course, more equal than others, as he demonstrates on the album's opening track, a solo guitar performance of his own ‘Etude’. It sets the bar incredibly high, which is maintained throughout this excellent album. They say you can only make a first impression once, but this second crack with a major label, Lage succeeds in making a first impression twice

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