Firehouse 12 • 45 Crown Street • New Haven, CT 06510 • 203.785.0468

Julian Lage


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When Julian Lage emerged on the music scene 13 years ago, the young San Francisco Bay Area-based musician was not only deemed a guitar-playing prodigy, but he was also offered record deals on numerous occasions. Playing a unique style that melded blues, classical, folk and jazz influences, Lage decided to wait for the right moment to document his own music. He chooses instead to become a sideman with established instrumentalists like Gary Burton and to collaborate with contemporaries such as pianist Taylor Eigsti.

Along the way, Lage received recognition from musical luminaries, including Herbie Hancock and Béla Fleck, and patiently waited until he was ready to go into a studio with a band of like-minded players to realize his own musical vision.

Now the time has come. At the age of 21, the Boston-based Lage releases his debut album, Sounding Point on EmArcy Records, an imprint of Universal Records. The CD is remarkably the most striking—and sophisticated—premiere of a young instrumental artist and composer in years. The music ranges from through-composed works and impromptu improvisations in duo and trio settings to solo excursions and a finale capped by a masterful rendering of Miles Davis’s “All Blues.” Lage also delivers impressively original covers of Elliott Smith’s “Alameda” and Neil Hefti’s “Lil’ Darlin.”

“I’ve been in a position where I could have recorded an album when I was younger but was never in a rush because I wanted to allow these compositions to grow and evolve in their own time.” says Lage. “And within the past four years, I have felt the music really take shape in the way I had always imagined. I feel grateful that there were no pressures on me to make a record until I felt it was time.”

Sounding Point finds Lage leading his own band—including saxophonist Ben Roseth, cellist Aristides Rivas, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer/percussionist Tupac Mantilla—as well as special guests Eigsti, Fleck and renowned mandolinist Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers fame. The record is produced by Steven Epstein and engineered by Richard King, who in addition to collaborating on classical music projects has also worked on classical-crossover albums recorded by Yo Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer, Chick Corea’s Corea.Concerto, and Billy Joel’s Opus 1-10: Fantasies & Delusions: Music for Solo Piano. Lage says that after a lot of research, he decided that the Epstein-King team’s work on the Punch Brothers’ Punch debut was the sound and feeling he wanted to have on his first record.

“The point of this record was to express the underlying movement within the music,” says Lage, who though he may be a young virtuoso, never resorts to flashy technique on his acoustic and electric guitars (a Martin D-18GE and a Linda Manzer archtop, respectively). “I have an affinity for the guitar, and I’ve committed myself to being a student of the instrument. I have always been drawn to a technique that allows the music to take on a visual shape as well as a wide emotional spectrum.”

Firehouse 12 Performances

Julian Lage and Scott Colley Duo Friday, April 17, 2015, 10:00p
Julian Lage Trio Friday, December 30, 2011, 8:00p
Julian Lage Group Friday, October 1, 2010, 10:00p
Julian Lage Group Friday, March 20, 2009, 10:00p

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