Julian Lage | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., July 9, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., July 10, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., July 11, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., July 12, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2009
Price: $20
Already a seasoned jazz guitarist at 21—he has a sideman stint with vibist Gary Burton and a collaboration with pianist Taylor Eigsti under his belt—Julian Lage makes his debut as a bandleader on this year’s Sounding Point (Emarcy), revealing a considered, open-eared aesthetic that would be impressive in a musician of any age. He and his core ensemble—cellist Aristides Rivas, bassist Jorge Roeder, percussionist Tupac Mantilla, and saxophonist Ben Roseth—bring exquisite restraint to a distinctive blend of cool jazz, chamber music, world music, and string-band music. Three tracks feature a trio of Lage, banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, and Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile, who convincingly mix bluegrass and jazz improvisation in a dense flurry of plucked strings and oblique harmonies—in fact Lage’s unusual harmonic decisions, which give the music its rich palette, might be the most exciting thing about the album as a whole. Here and there a bit more aggression would suit him better, and at times he sounds too mannered, but considering how original his approach is at this early point in his career, I’ll cut him some slack. —Peter Margasak

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