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Julian Lage


Etude 2:27 Boo’s Blues 3:25 Squint 4:29 Saint Rose 4:35 Emily 5:28 Familiar Flower 3:59 Day And Age 3:15 Quiet Like a Fuse 6:53 Short Form 3:31 Twilight Surfer 4:18 Call Of The Canyon 3:12
  • Julian Lage - guitar
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179.00 PLN


Nr kat.: UCCQ1142
Label  : UNIVERSAL (Japan)

Squint Review by Thom Jurek [-] Guitarist Julian Lage has made previous appearances on Blue Note with the Nels Cline 4 on Currents, Constellations, and with Charles Lloyd on 8: Kindred Spirits. Squint marks his leader debut for the label with his working trio of bassist Jorge Roeder and Bad Plus drummer Dave King. This 11-song program contains nine Lage originals and two covers: the Mandel and Mercer standard "Emily" and Billy Hill's immortal "Call of the Canyon." Lage's trio worked up the material during a winter 2020 residency at the Village Vanguard. In composing, he was inspired by the storied tradition of Blue Note artists wedding popular song to sophisticated improvisation. After being forced into quarantine by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lage revisited the material through the ongoing confusion of its behavioral dictates and the summer's mass social unrest. The trio gathered in a Nashville studio and offered the re-envisioned tunes with a "deeper, darker air of mystery and searching.” Squint is hardly a downer, though. It's airy, easy, and lyrical with canny interplay among the trio's members. "Boo's Blues" is swinging hard bop rooted in urban blues; a slippery chordal vamp slides atop the swinging drum kit and a walking bassline. Lage's solo is direct, meaty, and forceful as it emerges in a call-and-response with his bandmates. Single "Saint Rose" commences as a shuffling rocker with a jaunty riff; Lage and King state the groove with swagger. Roeder adds a funky undertone before the guitarist solos, extrapolating nuevo flamenco single-string runs from the harmony before bringing it back around to meld jazz with melodic rock. It's followed by a tender, gauzy read of "Emily" steeped in a graceful musical economy that approaches the elegant. "Familiar Flower" commences with Roeder's deep droning bassline atop King's double-timed syncopation on snares, tom-toms, and ride cymbals. Lage moves afield immediately, juxtaposing vamps, chords, and deft single-string leads in a confluence of bluesy melodies that trace the lineage of predecessors John Scofield and Pat Metheny while adding his own. "Day and Age," by contrast, is a slow, relaxed shuffle carrying layers of subtle, multivalent melody as Roeder's bass nearly sings alongside Lage's easy, back-porch guitaristry. "Quiet Like a Fuse" unwinds initially as a spectral, sweet ballad that Roeder and King gently propel, contrasting their elastic rhythmic pulse with Lage's lush, skeletal chromaticism. It gradually picks up steam but never loses its gentility. "Twilight Surfer" marries a bopping country shuffle to rootsy rock and complex tremolo picking with gorgeous fills from the guitarist and bassist. The cover of "Call of the Canyon" is rendered in slightly abstract fashion. It unfolds impressionistically before Roeder signals King and they surround Lage; he slowly and deliberately articulates the melody, extrapolating its nuances and spaces before leading the band into ether, then bringing them back to the physical world. Squint achieves Lage's formal ambition in spades. His trio's ability to meld formal songwriting mechanics with truly inspired collective jazz improvisation -- without artifice -- is as admirable as it is thoroughly enjoyable.

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