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Guitarist Julian Lage celebrates a new album with solo performance at KNKX

Guitarist Julian Lage first visited the KNKX studios in 2011, after the release of his second album, Gladwell. More than a decade and 12 albums later, Lage returned for a solo session performance that showcased his prodigious talent and a mature artist at the top of his game.

The last three albums from Lage and his trio with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King, span the time just before the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent return to concerts without masks. Love Hurts showed a trio getting to know each other. Squint found a trio struggling to create through health restrictions. The brand-new album View with a Room, their sophomore effort for Blue Note Records, comes from a well-honed unit. It also adds a very special guest.

Bill Frisell, an innovative and versatile guitarist whose jazz informed modern folk and roots music, is a perfect match for Lage's clean, open sound. In a conversation with KNKX, Lage talked about the collaboration , his new compositions and how Frisell seemed to know exactly how to make each song better. Even when that meant sitting out because it sounded better with the trio.

View with a Room was produced by Lage's wife Margaret Glaspy, and Lage pointed out her expertise in understanding his creative process. He also noted the importance of the album's engineer Mark Goodell, who Lage calls "another member of the band."

Performing solo in the KNKX studios, Lage reached back to his previous solo album, World's Fair. Recorded in 2015 on an acoustic guitar made in 1939, it was inspired by classical guitarist Andres Segovia and early country and folk music. "Day and Age" sounds like an unheard country blues masterpiece played by an unknown guitar master in the back of a forgotten roadhouse.

New music from View with a Room included the meditative but feisty "Let Every Room Sing." Finally, Lage leapt into the beautiful "Auditorium." Both are filled with beautiful melodies, exciting flights of improvisation and the confidence of a young guitar master.

Lage also spoke about developing his own sound, saying he's been eliminating anything in his style that blocks the "true nature" of his playing.

"This is my essence, the thing I've been doing as a kid, and that's enough."

Songs:

  1. Let Every Room Sing
  2. Day and Age
  3. Auditorium
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.