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  • Julian Lage

     

    Following his Grammy-nominated 2009 debut Sounding Point, virtuoso guitarist Julian Lage returns with the evocative and finely wrought Gladwell - the second effort by his offbeat, eclectic group.

     

    The album unfolds according to a fanciful and story-driven plan, as Lage explains: "We began playing with the idea of creating a story we could use as a guiding light in our writing process.... The result was the development of an imaginary and forgotten town known as Gladwell.... As a metaphor, Gladwell presented us with a clear architecture, to compose songs that evoke feelings of people and places we hold dear."

     

    "Some songs specifically identify with particular parts of the town," writes Lage, "while other pieces simply fit into the overall concept and musical direction. The intention of the music is to encourage the listener, at every turn, to take a step towards the unknown...."

     

    As with Sounding Point, Gladwell reflects Lage's wide-ranging musical interests and talents, ranging from chamber music, American folk and bluegrass to latin, world, string-band tradition and modern jazz. The album also exhibits contemporary singer-songwriter aesthetics.

     

    The leader's fluid improvisations and rich, beautifully captured tone on electric and acoustic guitars anchor the music at every step, but the contributions of the band members are equally indispensable.

     

    "Dan has a background in classical composition as well as improvisation," says Lage, "so he brings a sense of curiosity to the band that is deeply rooted in a variety of traditions. From Aristides we've learned a tremendous amount about how to play as a chamber-like ensemble, how to utilize dynamics and blending, and how to move and breathe as a unit. The sound of cello has opened our ears to the world that lives between classical music and jazz and it is amazing to witness how Aristides so uniquely marries the two. Tupac is like a conductor of energy, using his diverse palette of colors to shape and inform the music - his approach is never static, and it is exhilarating to share in his passion for uncovering new approaches. Jorge [who was the first member to join the band] has an incredible grounding force that enables the band to really take off in any direction at any point in time - I feel Jorge's presence as kind of like the narrator of a story, always keeping an eye on the bigger perspective while remaining an active participant at every turn."

     

    Lage's recent trio appearances with fiddle master Mark O'Connor (also collaborating with the violinist's group, "Hot Swing") and bass giant John Patitucci have only strengthened the imprint of Americana and acoustic music on his work. In fact, Lage debuted on record at age 11 on Dawg Duos (1999), featuring David Grisman, Vassar Clements, Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck and more. "Those were my heroes," Lage marvels. (He went on to recruit Fleck for three tracks on Sounding Point)

     

    "Working with Mark O'Connor made me realize you can bring that simplicity and elegance of the guitar to the main stage," says Lage. "A lot of times growing up I felt the guitar had to be more like a saxophone or a piano - it was never really encouraged in jazz to use capos or open tuning, for instance. With Mark I felt I had permission to cultivate those sonic elements, and I discovered so much new music, like 'Freight Train' or old bluegrass tunes, or old-time music. It's so coupled with the design of the instrument. When you're playing that music on the guitar, it's as though all the lights are green."

     

    Hailed by All About Jazz as "a giant in the making," Lage grew up in California and was the subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary, Jules at Eight. He gained pivotal early exposure as a protégé of legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton, recording and touring with Burton on two projects: Generations (2004) and Next Generation (2005). Other recent high-profile sideman appearances include Lucky To Be Me and Let It Come To You by longtime friend and close collaborator, pianist Taylor Eigsti. Having reunited with Gary Burton for live engagements beginning in 2010, Julian can also be heard this year as a member of the "New Gary Burton Quartet" on the forthcoming CD, Common Ground (featuring Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez).

     

    With his previous Sounding Point, Lage arrived at a unique approach to composition and ensemble craft, a searching yet accessible sound that earned him his 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. The music was "a major find," declared Time Out New York - "springy, intelligent chamber Americana that fits perfectly into a spectrum of Nonesuch-style players like Bill Frisell and Chris Thile's Punch Brothers." This new album represents another stage in that evolution, building on the proven strengths of and solidifying a unique identity for Lage's working band but continuing to open new doors and exploring new horizons. As Lage himself puts it: "Welcome to Gladwell."

     

     

     

    Publicist Jordy Freed
    DL Media
    124 N. Highland Avenue

    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
    W: 610 667 0501 | M: 267 274 7368
    Skype: jfreedjazz
    www.jazzpublicity.com

     

    Record Label Emarcy
    Contact: Sascha Kilias
    International Marketing Manager - Jazz
    Universal Music Group International
    Tel.  +44 20 8742 5679
    alexander.kilias@umusic.com
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