Guitarist Julian Lage is the young mainstream musician of the moment, generating quite a bit of buzz. After taking gigs with the likes of Gary Burton, he has cut his debut album with Ben Roseth on saxophone, Aristides Rivas on cello, Jorge Roeder on bass, Tupac Mantilla on percussion and Chris Thile on mandolin, Béla Fleck on banjo and Taylor Eigsti on piano sitting in on a few tracks. Melody is the focus of the album with mild arrangements and light musical colors. "Clarity" opens with polite guitar and cello, while "All Purpose Beginning" has benign acoustic guitar and cello framed by floating saxophone. A couple of tracks with Thile and Fleck get an interesting string band sound, "The Informant" features alternating guitar and banjo while "Alameda" builds to an old timey feel. "Familiar Posture" and "Long Day, Short Night" are features for Lage, well played certainly, but emotionally vacant. I just get the sense that although Lage can pretty much play anything at any speed, but that he just doesn't have anything compelling to say yet. Although there is no doubt that the music here is very well played, it just did not move me. I found the music the music to be for the most part tepid, polite and lacking in emotional resonance. The music doesn't challenge the listener and while I suppose that may be the point, it's just not my thing and leaves me wanting to listen to something a little stronger. Your mileage may vary.
Sounding Point - amazon.com
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Luis Lopes – Love Song (Shhpuma, 2016) ***1/2
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