Julian Lage is of the ‘highest category of improvising musicians, those who can enact thoughts and impulses as they receive them.’ (New Yorker) The California- born, now New York–based guitarist has evolved from collaborator (with such giants as Gary Burton, Jim Hall, David Grisman, Béla Fleck, and Charles Lloyd) to band leader. On Modern Lore, Julian Lage’s second studio recording with his trio, the composer and guitarist focuses on the groove, building his melodies and solos around the work of the prodigious rhythm section of double bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Modern Lore finds Lage playfully flipping the script he followed on his acclaimed 2016 Mack Avenue debut, Arclight. UK’s Jazzwise describes Arclight as ‘… a bright light shone on very specific, finely wrought musical miniatures that unfold untold pleasures.’ Evidenced in a wide discography of duo projects (Fred Hersh, Nels Cline, Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Eldridge, the New Yorker muses, “There’s a disarming spirit of generosity in the musicianship of Julian Lage, and a keener sense of judicious withholding. A guitarist with roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music…’
[Early 2017 release] On Mount Royal, their second album together, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge craft songs that sound familiar but are never easily classified. Percolating with tinges of bluegrass and folk, insinuations of jazz and pop, hints of classical and avant garde composition, the album rarely settles into any one particular category; rather, it dances around the territory between genres, never announcing its innovations and prizing soulfulness above chops at every turn. From first note to last, the duo push themselves to find new ways to play their flat-top steel-string acoustic Martins together.
JULIAN LAGE ANNOUNCES SECOND TRIO ALBUM
PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW
GUITAR PRODIGY RELEASES LEAD SINGLE “ROGER THE DODGER”
NORTH AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES ON SALE NOW
“There’s a disarming spirit of generosity in the musicianship of Julian Lage, and a keener sense of judicious withholding. A guitarist with roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music, he has spent most of his life bathed in a bright expectant light.”
– New York Times
Mack Avenue Records is excited to announce Modern Lore, Julian Lage’s second studio album with his trio, available February 2, 2018. The lead single “Roger the Dodger” is available to stream on Spotify and for purchase on iTunes. Modern Lore follows Lage’s early 2017 collaborative jazz album Mount Royal with guitarist/singer Chris Eldridge.
WATCH LAGE PERFORM “ROGER THE DODGER,” LIVE FROM LAYMAN DRUG COMPANY
After spending a portion of 2017 on the road with Eldridge, Lage will continue touring in 2018 with solo dates across North America and Europe. A complete list of dates with ticket information is available below.
On Modern Lore, Julian Lage’s second studio recording with his trio, the composer and guitarist focuses on the groove, building his melodies and solos around the work of the prodigious rhythm section of double bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Modern Lore finds Lage playfully flipping the script he followed on his acclaimed 2016 Mack Avenue debut, Arclight. That album — produced, like Modern Lore, by Lage’s friend and collaborator, the singer-songwriter Jesse Harris — was his first trio set on electric guitar and found Lage inspired by the sounds and the attitude of the freewheeling, pre-bebop jazz era, when, as he puts it, “country music and jazz and swing were in this weird wild-west period.” This time he incorporates the sensibility, if not the outright sound, of early rock and roll, a similarly hybrid form driven by rhythm, personality and a passion for the electric guitar.
“Last time it was specifically a combination of the electric guitar being a lead voice interacting with those pre-bebop songs. I wanted to do a jazz record the way I had always craved to do one,” Lage recalls. “Modern Lore is the evolution of that sound, through the lens of original compositions. These pieces are more designed in the image of early rock and roll, early Little Richard, early Bo Diddley, wherein the first measure of music sets the tone for the whole experience. The sound of the band driven by these grooves and the guitar is more of an explosive voice, it bends more; it’s more dynamic.”
LISTEN TO “ROGER THE DODGER,” HERE
For Modern Lore, the trio cut the tracks at Reservoir Studios in midtown Manhattan. Then Lage brought in keyboardist Tyler Chester from the Blake Mills trio to add some very subtle textures. As Lage notes, “In the most tasteful way, Tyler brought a spirit to everything that really ignites the sonic palette.” Tom Schick, Wilco’s longtime engineer, mixed the album in Chicago and producer Jesse Harris contributes acoustic guitar on “Whatever You Say, Henry”.
Once again, producer Harris was an important editorial voice, both arbiter and cheerleader. Says Lage, “Jesse and I shared a vision and a craving for a body of tunes that focused on directness and the space we could leave. We were adamant about keeping the music in that zone, that warmth and clarity, within which the beat of the song could really thrive. This was our dream for these songs.”
Lage was already an established guitar virtuoso when at age 27, he picked up the Telecaster for the Arclight sessions. That was, in a sense, a return to his roots: When he was four years old, his dad, a visual artist, had made him a plywood guitar, based on a Fender Esquire he’d traced from a Bruce Springsteen poster. As a young and preternaturally gifted musician, Lage found supporters in such artists as vibraphonist Gary Burton, and veteran jazz guitarist Jim Hall, who would become Lage’s mentor and friend. Though Hall passed away in 2013, he remains a profound influence on Lage. In fact, Lage first encountered Colley and Wollesen when they were backing Hall at the famed Bay Area jazz club, Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA. Since then, Lage has more than fulfilled the promise of his youth, collaborating with a diverse range of fellow artists, including guitarist-singer Chris Eldridge of Punch Brothers, bassist Steve Swallow, and iconic avant-garde composer John Zorn; often appearing with the house band on Prairie Home Companion; and composing for and fronting this trio.
“Every time I record with Scott and Kenny, I wish I could do this every day,” Lage admits. ” The sound I’m craving takes many forms; it can be very restrained or it can be wild and crazy. It kind of depends on the context. With Modern Lore, the music sets the foundation for a multitude of directions, all rooted in a kind of sensual narrative.”
As one of the most prodigious guitarists of his generation, Lage has long displayed an ability to explore a wide range of sounds, ideas and genres. But what delights him here – and will, in turn, captivate his listeners – is the artful simplicity of Modern Lore.
JULIAN LAGE NORTH AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
9 – Milano, Italy – Masada Club
10 – Pisa, Italy – Teatro Sant’ Andrea
11 – Zürich, Switzerland – Moods
13 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – LUX Mariënburg
15 – Wels, Austria – Alter Schlachthof Wels
16 – Prague, Czech Republic – Jazz Dock
17 – London, United Kingdom – PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)
18 – München, Germany – Unterfahrt Jazzclub
19 – Fribourg, Switzerland – La Spirale
20 – Dortmund, Germany – Domicil
15 – Vancouver, BC – Frankie’s Jazz Club
16 – Bothell, WA – Northshore Performing Arts Center
17 – Portland, OR – PDX Jazz – Dolores Winningstad Theatre
18 – Healdsburg, CA – Raven Performing Arts Theatre
19 – Santa Cruz, CA – Kuumbwa Jazz Center
20 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theater
21 – San Diego, CA – Music Box
23 – Lafayette, LA – Acadiana Center for the Arts
28 – Oxford, GA – Oxford College of Emory University
1 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
2 – Nashville, TN – Station Inn
3 – Nashville, TN – Station Inn
4 – Knoxville, TN – The Mill & Mine
6 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
7 – Bethesda, MD – Camarillo Concerts House Show
8 – Washington, DC – Library of Congress
9 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Café
11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Café
13 – Peninsula, PA – G.A.R Hall
7 – Savannah, GA – Savannah Music Festival
11 – Colorado Springs, CO – Entertainment Center for the Arts