Julian Lage

View With a Room

One of today’s most-acclaimed players, Lage offers 10 original compositions of sumptuous guitar, along with the artistry of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King. As on 2021’s Squint, Lage explores his fascination with American music through melody, counterpoint, and rhythm. Improvisation is key as Lage dips and flows through a myriad of chord voicings, drum grooves, and ethereal chord melodies. Throughout, Julian’s ultra-clean Collings 470 JL combines the warmth of a jazzbox with a vintage Gretsch vibe and sonic crispness of a Tele. Jazz luminary Bill Frisell brings his own supple guitarmanship to “Auditorium.”

Produced by Lage’s wife, guitarist/singer/songwriter Margaret Glaspy, View With A Room is something of a musical journey. On “Heart Is a Drum,” Lage combines chord soloing, harmonics, and graceful dexterity. For “Word for Word,” the guitarist effortlessly bops, swings, and leaps through octaves, sending listeners into a trance-like state. Emerging from the sonic invention of George Barnes, Jimmy Bryant, and (of course) Frisell, Lage forges an organic record that places his guitar out front, without any gimmicks – just natural, staggering ability. View With A Room is a dreamy effort, but Lage also provides plenty of intervallic heat on “Chavez” and “Temple Steps.”

This article originally appeared in VG’s January 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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