Twentyseven year-old guitarrist Julian Lage, born in California and now resident in New York, has collaborated with such musical giants as Gary Burton, Jim Hall, David Grisman, Béla Fleck & Charles Lloyd. He has released three albums as band leader, the most recent at the World’s Fair this year, and some others playing in duo configurations with Wilco’s guitarrist Nels Cline, pianist Fred Hersch and the Punch Brothers’ guitarrist, Chris Eldridge. In spite of his young age, he already boasts a career curriculum any artist twice his age would be proud to have.
Some critics have placed Lage above certain jazz guitar legends, such as Bill Frisell, John Scofield & Pat Metheny. But Lage maintains his humility & honesty when responding to these comparisons, “Those people are my heroes and I try to keep all things in perspective,” he says. “In a lot of ways, now the work really begins. I’ve been doing a lot of plate-spinning over the last couple of years, and now my job is to keep them spinning. I want to build on a modern definition of what it means to be a jazz guitarist. It’s a really diverse discipline, but I feel like we’re in a beautiful stage for improvised music in general.”
His new trio features bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen, and with them he is certainly in a position to help move the music forward. Lage describes the trio’s next album Arclight, as a “collection of originals and pre–bebop-era songs.” He looks forward to performing the music in a live setting, but more than anything, he’s simply excited about discovering what this trio is capable of doing. “There’s a willingness to jump in with these guys,” he says. “At the end of the day it comes down to throwing yourself at the music.”
Settling down in New York, says Lage, has afforded him the freedom to pursue his music in multiple directions simultaneously. “There’s a camaraderie here and it takes the pressure off of you,” he says. “People here are open-minded, very forward-thinking”.
JULIAN LAGE TRIO
Julian Lage: guitar
Eric Boob: drums
Jorge Roeder: contrabass