Red Light Management


June 11, 2021

Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage has released his Blue Note Records debut 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. Watch Lage discuss the new album on the latest episode of “First Look” with Blue Note President Don Was.
“I absolutely love improvised music, and I’ve always been fascinated by singer-songwriter music,” says Lage. “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 Tynerwith 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.”
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 those plans 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 collaboratorArmand Hirsch and singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy. “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.”
See what the critics have been saying about Squint:
a brilliant Blue Note debut… a singularly modern take on Blue Note tradition, showcasing tunes that both reference classic styles and function as forward-facing vehicles for improvisation, his transcendent gift.”—DownBeat
Guitarist Julian Lage’s sparkling second trio recording with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King builds on their extraordinary rapport.”—Boston Globe
an ingenious musical polyglot — at home in seemingly any language, and capable of internalizing endless nuances of tone and syntax while invariably sounding like himself.”—WBGO
From every angle, and from start to finish, the album is a delight.”—All About Jazz
These melodic jewels go down easy, but embedded within the lyrical beauty is an abiding sense of empathy and gentleness, with a classic jazz guitar trio sound spiked with rock flair and pop concision. The guitarist consistently weaves new melodic constellations, but even his improvisations are deeply entwined with the swinging grooves meted out by his nimble rhythm section.”—The Quietus
His ability to blend all of his disparate inspirations into one swinging whole makes Squint his most overtly jazzy record yet – and his best.”—The Big Takeover
It is that rare LP in which creative distillation is the means to progression… evidence of the leader’s ongoing initiative to remain both accessible and provocative.”—Glide Magazine
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Lage has also announced additional tour dates in Europe this Summer followed by North American dates in the Fall. For more details on Lage’s tour plans and Master Classes, please visit
July 9 – Warsaw, PL – Warsaw Summer Jazz Days Festival
July 11 – Perugia, IT – Umbria Jazz Festival
July 15-17 – Canary Islands, ES – Canarias Jazz & Más Festival
July 20 – Ljubjana, SI – Cankarjev Dom
July 22 – Paris, FR – New Morning
July 23 – Fusignano, IT – Parco Piancastelli
Sept. 25 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom**
Sept. 26 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore **
Sept. 28 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater **
Sept. 29 – Seattle, WA – Neumos **
Oct. 1 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room **
Oct. 2 – Denver, CO – Daniels Hall **
Oct. 3 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre **
Oct. 5 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line **
Oct. 7 – Evanston, IL – SPACE **
Oct. 8 – Evanston, IL – SPACE **
Oct. 9 – Toronto, ON – Axis Club **
Nov 12 – London, UK – EFG London Jazz Festival
Dec 3 – Boston, MA – Berklee Performance Center
Dec. 4 – New York, NY – (le) poisson rouge **
Dec. 7 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s **
Dec. 8 – Washington, DC – Union Stage **
Dec. 9 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern **
Dec. 11 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl **
Dec. 12 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East **
**Julian Lage Pre-Show Master Class Available