Squint / Julian Lage

Album cover art for upc 602435521510
Label: BLUE NOTE
Catalog: B003332402
Format: CD

Julian Lage

01 Elude 02 Boo's Blues 03 Squint 04 Saint Rose 05 Emily 06 Familiar Flower 07 Day and Age 08 Quiet Like A Fuse 09 Short Form 10 Twilight Surfer 11 Call Of The Canyon

As Julian Lage set out to record his leader debut for Blue Note Records, the virtuoso guitarist reflected on the label’s storied history and the way his own music connected with it. The result is Squint, a striking new album that weds incisive, expressive songwriting with the profound interplay Lage has honed over the past few years with his deft trio featuring bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King. “I felt like this was an opportunity to present new music born out of the Blue Note tradition as I’ve interpreted it,” explains Lage, who previously recorded for the label with The Nels Cline 4’s Currents, Constellations and Charles Lloyd’s celebratory 8: Kindred Spirits. “I absolutely love improvised music, and I've always been fascinated by singer‐songwriter music. For me, the jazz that came out of Blue Note always engaged both sides of that. It had incredible improvisational vocabularies and performances, but when I think of albums from Grant Green’s Idle Moments to Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge to McCoy Tyner’s Time for Tyner with Bobby Hutcherson – all these records that I love so much also have such great songs.” When the trio took the stage of the Village Vanguard for a six‐night residency in January 2020, those ideas seemed ripe enough to explore as they planned to head into the studio. When thoseplans were upended by the pandemic, Lage took the opportunity to retool his new songs in light of the summer’s lockdown and protests over social justice. By the time he, Roeder and King finally set foot in Nashville’s Sound Emporium in August, the tunes had taken on a deeper, darker air of mystery and searching. “Going into this album,” Lage recalls, “my first tactic was just to make positive, beautiful music – a beam of light from three cats who love each other. After the recording didn't happen, I started reflecting on the music’s intent. It was clearer than ever that art and music are platforms to influence and heal and facilitate conversations. It became really important to me to capture a certain sense of emotional complexity to the music, a little fuzziness. This record sits comfortably in the unknown.” Finding comfort in that tenuous space was also aided by the presence in the studio of two of Lage’s closest compatriots, who served as co‐producers: guitarist and longtime collaborator Armand Hirsch and singer‐songwriter Margaret Glaspy, Lage’s partner in life as well as music. “On one level, the combination of Margaret and Armand is just abundant support,” Lage says. “But I also have such deep respect for what they both bring to the music. They helped make sure that the essential experience was always there, that Squint never became a pursuit to make a good jazz guitar record, but to create music with a clear spiritual pulse.”

Price: $24.98