Julian Lage - Sounding Point

album review


Release date: March 24th 2009

Availability: CD, MP3 Download

Sounding Point cover

Announced as a child protégé on guitar and cutting his teeth in Gary Burton's Next Generation, "Sounding Point" is Julian Lage's debut album as leader. His musical relationship with pianist Taylor Eigsti has been blossoming of late with acclaimed performances as a duo and with Julian Lage making a significant contribution to Taylor Eigsti's album "Let It Come To You". But with "Sounding Point" the idea of free flowing improvisation in duo / small group settings is taken much further.

In addition to duets with Taylor Eigsti on "Tour One" and on Miles Davis' "All Blues", there are three tracks featuring an innovative trio with Chris Thile (mandolin) and Bela Fleck (banjo). There is also a quartet line-up on most of the remaining tracks featuring saxophone (Ben Roseth), bass (Jorge Roeder) and tabla/ percussion (Tupac Mantilla). The quartet is augemented by cello (Aristides Rivas) on the two opening tracks. On two further tracks, the approach is solo guitar. Noticeably, there is not a single straight jazz line-up on display.

Julian Lage photo
Photo credit: Michael Kurgansky

The absence of a conventional drum kit leads to an open sound and approach that places the emphasis on free improvisation and highlights Julian Lage's prodigious technique.

It takes great confidence for musicians to open up their playing in this way; it is a high-risk strategy with nowhere to hide. But the results are spectacular, producing jazz of great subtlety, bending the genre, taking in at times bluegrass, straight ahead jazz, Americana, Indian and classical elements.

Clearly a breakthrough album that would be expected to be a strong challenger for album of the year.

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Sounding Point cover

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Streaming audio at:

Julian Lage MySpace page

Taylor Eigsti / Julian Lage MySpace page

Review: Taylor Eigsti "Let It Come To You:

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