With a fully formed voice that transcends yet incorporates his multifaceted stylistic interests, 21-year-old guitarist Julian Lage’s impressive debut points to a giant in the making. Presented by Spoleto Festival USA as part of the Wachovia Jazz Series.
Julian Lage, a young but incredibly proficient and creative jazz guitarist and composer, performs two solo recitals per night at the Simons Center. The dapper kid from San Francisco makes the fiery stuff look easy.
"Like anything else in life, if you start early enough, you'll get into some areas quicker," Lage recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I had a propensity for guitar, but I was fortunate to have a family that supported me." Listening to his recent live and studio recordings — both solo and with various combos and star bandleaders — his technical skill and fluid phrasing are impressive. His debut solo album, a musical gem, is titled Sounding Point (Universal).
As a teen, he played on stage with such jazz and roots music greats as Gary Burton, Taylor Eigsti, David Grisman, and Béla Fleck. Now based in Boston, the guitarist glides from classical to swing to folk and blues with ease. He's just as likely to do an interpretation of a Baroque etude as a cover of an Elliott Smith tune. He's garnered comparisons to the likes of Bill Frisell, Leo Kottke, and Chris Thile.