Julian Lage

Guitar – Jazz Institute Online


uilian Lage has been inspiring students and delighting audiences at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Festival for many years. His boundless energy, openness, and accessibility consistently make him a favorite of SJW students. When he emerged on the music scene 14 years ago, the young San Francisco Bay Area-bred musician was not only deemed a guitar-playing prodigy, but he was also offered record deals on numerous occasions. Playing a unique style that melded blues, classical, folk, and jazz influences, Julian decided to wait for the right moment to document his own music. He chose instead to become a sideman with established instrumentalists such as Gary Burton and to collaborate with contemporaries such as pianist Taylor Eigsti. As a child, Julian was the subject of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Jules at Eight. Julian quickly received recognition from musical luminaries including Herbie Hancock and Béla Fleck, and patiently waited until he was ready to go into a studio with a band of like-minded players to realize his own musical vision.

The resulting debut album, Sounding Point on EmArcy Records, is the most striking and sophisticated premiere of a young instrumental artist and composer in years. The music ranges from through-composed works and impromptu improvisations in duo and trio settings to solo excursions and a finale capped by a masterful rendering of Miles Davis’s “All Blues.” Julian also delivers impressively original covers of Elliott Smith ’s “Alameda” and Neil Hefti ’s “Lil’ Darlin.” His album Free Flying with pianist Fred Hersch received a rare 5 star review from DownBeat magazine. He has recently been touring as a duo with Wilco’s Nels Cline.


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