Photo: Julian Lage. | Mike Bouchard via Flickr. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Some Rights Reserved.
The next show will air on Sunday, December 27, 2015 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast will feature an interview with composer and guitarist Julian Lage, who is one of the artists lined up to be featured during the 2016 Winter Jazz Festival held in January. This program is a second in the series that Suga’ will focus on the 2016 Winter Jazz Festival.
Julian Lage is somewhat of a child prodigy — playing his instrument at the age of five and performing in public a year later. Shortly thereafter, Lage began playing with such renowned artists as Carlos Santana (when he was only eight years old!), Pat Metheny, Kenny Werner, Toots Thielemans, Martin Taylor, and David Grisman, among others, resulting in Lage being the subject of the 1997 Academy Award-nominated documentary film Jules at Eight. In addition to performing, Lage has recorded as a duo with Grisman (the 1999 release Dawg Duos), and contributed a fine cover of “In a Sentimental Mood” with Martin Taylor and David Grisman, to the 2000 compilation Acoustic Disc: 100% Handmade Music, Vol. 5. Lage has also appeared at numerous jazz concerts/festivals, including the St. Louis Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and even performed at the 2000 Grammy Awards. In 2009, Lage released his debut solo album, Sounding Point, on Emarcy. The album was widely celebrated as the arrival of a new and authoritative voice on the instrument.
This was followed by the concept offering Gladwell in 2011. He fronted a quintet that featured bassist Jorge Roeder, tenor saxophonist Dan Blake, cellist Aristides Rivas, and drummer/percussionist Tupac Mantilla.
Lage switched labels for the 2013 Free Flying release on Palmetto Records. It was recorded in duet with pianist Fred Hersch.
The duo format apparently agreed with Lage, though its focus shifted a bit. In 2014 he issued two such albums; the first was Avalon with guitarist Chris Eldridge. Produced by the Milk Carton Kids’ Kenneth Pattengale, it contained bluegrass, folk, jazz, and classic pop standards; the pair called it a “love letter to the acoustic guitar.” In late November, Room, with fellow jazz guitarist Nels Cline, appeared on Mack Avenue. Its focus was on a range of material, from intricately composed and complex works to free and spontaneous improvisations.
Lage’s most recent release is a solo guitar recording titled World’s Fair on Modern Lore Records in February 2015. Many of these selections will be played during his set as he opens for Channeling Coltrane: Rova’s Electric Ascension during the closing evening of the Winter Jazz Festival on Sunday, January 17.
This program is engineered, produced, hosted and edited by Joyce Jones.
Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
The 2016 Winter Jazz Fest runs from January 13-17 at several locations in Greenwich Village. See the full schedule and artist lineup at their website. The next Suga’ show will feature our final installment of artists at the festival with guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer. Head on over to our blog for previews, our annual cheat sheet to selected acts, and a full review when it wraps up.
Watch Lage perform live at the 2012 Winter Jazz Fest.
Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.