Album reviews

Julian Lage – ‘View With A Room’

Julian Lage – ‘View With A Room’

(Blue Note. Review by Adam Sieff)

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Guitarist Julian Lage’s second album for Blue Note generally follows the template set down in last year’s Squint. He is supported again by his regular rhythm section of The Bad Plus’s Dave King on drums and bassist Jorge Roeder, producer (and wife) Margaret Glaspy, recording and mix engineer Mark Goodell and musician/producer Armand Hirsch adding post production touches. But this time there’s the added guitar genius of duo partner Bill Frisell on seven of the album’s ten tracks (there are two bonus tracks on the Japanese version).

The overall sound of the group is warm and lush, with Lage’s tone a beautiful thing. Playing his signature model Collings 470 JL and a Magic Amps Vibro Deluxe with a little clean boost, he echoes the warm, bright tones of the early electric players within his own distinctive voice which remains a consistent reference throughout the album. His sound contrasts well with Frisell’s more varied tones played on a number of guitars (including a Jazzmaster and a baritone Telecaster).

Lage is a prolific composer and Glaspy acts as an important sounding board, the ten tracks (including two co-writes with Roeder) are all strong and fit well together. The first single Auditorium features a delicate melody with Lage and Frisell’s weaving guitars beautifully balanced. King’s drumming on the sublime trio cut Word For Word and the driving Chavez lights just the right amount of fire under Lage to push him a little harder. Lage’s playing is tasteful, inventive and expressive, the water flows in the descriptive Tributary and Heart Is A Drum is masterful.

The highly atmospheric Echo wasco-written and co-arranged with Roeder and features some gorgeous low bass playing. Roeder’s other co-write Fairbanks sits up and zips along, he and King are terrific together. with more fine Lage soloing and with Frisell’s sonic structures again adding another dimension.

There’s no doubt Frisell brings magic wherever he plays and he fits in perfectly with this trio’s sound and mindset, his sonic structures adding another dimension. But the tracks without him allow Lage a little more room to move even if they lack a few splashes of colour by comparison.

Release date: 16 September 2022

LINKS: Julian Lage’s website

Review of Squint by John Bungey

Buy View with a Room

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