Julian Lage | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Julian Lage Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Thu., Sept. 24, 8 p.m. 2015

Guitarist Julian Lage has spent his 20s knocking out listeners not just with his astonishing virtuosity but with his innate musicality and versatility. He’s a jazz musician who first made his name as a sideman with vibist Gary Burton, and despite his prodigious chops he’s not given to grandstanding. His diverse solo projects reveal an abiding interest in global sounds, country, and the blues, and over the last few years he’s made recordings that show how rigorously and imaginatively he’s hybridized his interests. On last year’s striking duo album Room (Mack Avenue) he and fellow guitarist Nels Cline create a loose vibe that belies the complex web of sound the musicians create, their extended lines sometimes contrapuntal, sometimes tangled in dissonance. But for my money nothing Lage has done up to now equals his gorgeous all-acoustic solo effort World’s Fair (Modern Lore), released in February. In the guitarist’s own words, the album highlights “various orchestrational aspects of guitar playing and guitar techniques,” which is a blandly formal way of saying the music is harmonically rich and deep in countermelodies. The compositions are sometimes elegant, sometimes elegiac, and sometimes pithy, but whatever the style Lage’s lyric grace, sensitive touch, and structural genius command the attention.

Peter Margasak

Price: $20, $18 members

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