Coming off their 2019 release, Love Hurts, masterclass guitarist Julian Lage has signed a deal with Blue Note to release the follow-up—his label debut Squint, slated for June 11. Alongside his long-standing collaborators Jorge Roeder (bassist) and Dave King (drummer), Lage readies the project with lead single “Saint Rose,” an improvisational, jazz-inspired piece to set the mood.
“Going into this album, 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,” shares Lage in a press statement. “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.”
Originally, Lage and company set about recording the album early 2020—and then the pandemic happened. Left to his own devices, and much-needed deep reflection, he came out the other side with a much darker approach. The trio hit the studio, joined by co-producers Armand Hirsch and Margaret Glaspy, in Nashville’s Sound Emporium to sculpt an album that took a much more somber, reflective tone.
In signing with Blue Note, Lage found himself able to experiment more fully with jazz music, leaning into the label’s long artistic history. “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,” he says, touching upon such records as Grant Green’s Idle Moments, Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge, and McCoy Tyner’s Time for Tyner with Bobby Hutcherson.
“All these records that I love so much also have such great songs. I felt like this was an opportunity to present new music born out of the Blue Note tradition as I’ve interpreted it,” he adds.
Julian Lage’s Squint is now up for pre-order.
Check out the track list below:
1. “Etude (Julian Lage)
2. “Boo’s Blues” (Lage)
3. “Squint” (Lage)
4. “Saint Rose” (Lage)
5. “Emily” (Johnny Mandel/Johnny Mercer)
6. “Familiar Flower” (Lage)
7. “Day and Age” (Lage)
8. “Quiet Like A Fuse” (Lage)
9. “Short Form” (Lage)
10. “Twilight Surfer” (Lage)
11. “Call of The Canyon” (Billy Hill)
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen