Jazz guys: Why do I like Julian Lage?

TeleTex82

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Lately I've really gotten into Julian Lage, and I'm trying to figure out why. Obviously, he's a talented player, but im trying to decipher what it is about his playing that has connected with me when, for me, Jazz has been a largely peripheral interest. I just find his playing much more melodic and I guess accessible compared to a lot of jazz I've explored.

Don't get me wrong, as a blues guy I like Jazz, but there are few artists for whom I have had the desire to repeatedly revisit with consistent regularity; Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, and now, Julian Lage. I am not well enough versed in the genre to trace back influences the way I can with Blues artists so I was hoping some of you more learned Jazz cats can help me dig back into where Lage draws his inspirations so I can do some further listening and hopefully incorporate some simplified aspects of his playing into my own. Thanks in advance!
 

monkeybanana

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For me it's because it's not straight bepop. It's not cliché in that he's not just cramming notes over changes with a muffled arch top tone. There was an article celebrating Charlie Christian in the Fretboard Journal and Julian talked about how Charlie's tone was actually pretty bright. I just love all the different genres and elements he brings to jazz and you don't have to "get it" to listen to it. Don't get wrong I love jazz but I prefer the older singer song arrangements and not too much of the Jim Hall thing no offense and they were actually friends.
 

Tricone

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If you like Lage, check out Pat Metheny, John Schofield,Bill Frisell, and Robben Ford. Metheny especially for acoustic and electric. All three are not tied to any specific jazz genre and have their own sound and musical style.
From these three you could check out Miles Davis, funk organ trios like Jack McDuff. Joni Michell who Metheny,Jaco Pastorius, and some other big time jazz musicians recorded an album and toured with.
Also,Lage has inspiration in free jazz also. This is the part I rather enjoy. He does some great stuff with Nels Cline, who is an outstanding musician also. Check out his solo work and with the band Wilco.

Here is a clip of Lage and Nels Cline. Good stuff.


And:
 

TeleTex82

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If you like Lage, check out Pat Metheny, John Schofield,Bill Frisell, and Robben Ford. Metheny especially for acoustic and electric. All three are not tied to any specific jazz genre and have their own sound and musical style.
From these three you could check out Miles Davis, funk organ trios like Jack McDuff. Joni Michell who Metheny,Jaco Pastorius, and some other big time jazz musicians recorded an album and toured with.
Also,Lage has inspiration in free jazz also. This is the part I rather enjoy. He does some great stuff with Nels Cline, who is an outstanding musician also. Check out his solo work and with the band Wilco.

Here is a clip of Lage and Nels Cline. Good stuff.


And:

Thank you! This is what I was looking for. Already a big Robben Ford fan and I dig Wilco too but woefully short on experience with some of your other suggestions particularly Metheny, Mcduff and Frisell.
 

trandy9850

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Julian Lage can technically play very well…but he reminds me of a guy who holed up and practiced scales and arpeggios for years…he can play very fluidly….but the “feel” factor, for me, is zero.

I can appreciate his technical ability…but it just doesn’t move me at all.

However…that Jack McDuff/George Benson clip posted above…kills!

And Grant Green is way overlooked…
 

HolmfirthNJ

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It helps that he plays a Telecaster, I think. I know we’re supposed to listen to the music rather than look at the guitars, but it’s probably a visual/YouTube thing, that I can’t quite get into the music as much when he’s playing some other guitar. I think this duet of a Neil Young song with Margaret Glaspy - both of them playing Telecasters - is lovely:
 

loopfinding

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Julian Lage can technically play very well…but he reminds me of a guy who holed up and practiced scales and arpeggios for years…he can play very fluidly….but the “feel” factor, for me, is zero.

what? his feel and amount of control (dynamics, articulation, gestures, etc.) are astonishing. there's all kinds of thoughtful stuff like toru takemitsu and non-guitaristic things in his playing as well. he's 100% not some mindless jazz shredder.

his main problem is that most of his material is pretty boring and safe. he has all this ability but aside from his etudes or stuff with nels, he just writes/wastes it on the same kind of sleepy "NPR jazz" over and over.

i'd like to see more stuff like this out of him. IMO it's a lot more interesting application of his talents/approach:



 
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trandy9850

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what? his feel and amount of control (dynamics, articulation, gestures, etc.) are astonishing. there's all kinds of thoughtful stuff like toru takemitsu and non-guitaristic things in his playing as well. he's 100% not some mindless jazz shredder.

his main problem is that most of his material is pretty boring and safe. he has all this ability but aside from his etudes or stuff with nels, he just writes/wastes it on the same kind of sleepy "NPR jazz" over and over.

i'd like to see more stuff like this out of him. IMO it's a lot more interesting application of his talents/approach:




I‘m really not trying to get into a big thing over this…but these two videos are prime examples of exactly what I’m referring to…chops for days but not much of a message here beyond “hey…look what I can do”.

Very cold and sterile…no emotion…it makes me wonder if he’s ever been in love, or had his heart broken, or watched a sunrise or a sunset…has he ever been down and out…not knowing where the next meal is coming from?

I’m being a little disingenuous because it’s not like he has to pass a test,etc. I just want to see what he’s made of. :)
 

loopfinding

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I‘m really not trying to get into a big thing over this…but these two videos are prime examples of exactly what I’m referring to…chops for days but not much of a message here beyond “hey…look what I can do”.

Very cold and sterile…no emotion…it makes me wonder if he’s ever been in love, or had his heart broken, or watched a sunrise or a sunset…has he ever been down and out…not knowing where the next meal is coming from?

i'm not so sure what that has to do with anything. everyone expresses different things through music. some music is more conceptual/formalist and some more expressive, some is in between. not everyone has to swing like benson, and different forms require different/appropriate affects.

fair point if you find what he's doing is neither interesting conceptually/formally while also not being traditionally (for jazz) expressive either. no fault in that.
 
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