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Julian Lage teams up with the legendary Bill Frisell for new single Auditorium, reveals new album title

Julian Lage
(Image credit: Shervin Lainez)

Julian Lage has announced his second album for the iconic jazz label Blue Note, and shared a new single from the record. Titled View With a Room, the record is scheduled for release on September 16, and the first track to be previewed from the album is a doozy.

View With a Room finds Lage once more teaming up with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King, with the trio welcoming the legendary Bill Frisell to the studio to guest on the new track Auditorium.

The album comes hot on the heels of Squint, which was unquestionably one of the guitar records of 2021. As on Squint, Lage pursues his fascination with the history of American music and specifically the electric guitar and its tone, and how the possibilities and very identity of the instrument can be extended. 

In a statement, Lage said he had wanted to make this record for years.

“It comes from a line of musical inquiry: can you have lush orchestration combined with an organic sense of improvisation and the agility of a small ensemble?,” Lage said. “The answer came from some of the historical references that matter to me about the electric guitar. There’s a certain lineage that grows out of early pioneers like Jimmy Bryant and George Barnes and Charlie Christian, where there’s this almost electric volatility to the sound.”

Electric volatility is a good way to describe Lage’s sound. His Collings 470 JL signature guitar is fitted with custom-adjustable Ron Ellis pickups that are voiced to balance power with the hi-fi quality of vintage single-coils, and it’s the perfect platform for a player who has made a bona-fide jazz guitar of the Fender Telecaster, and who isn’t afraid to let a little treble sharpen his phrasing.

“It’s both beautiful and kind of sharp; it’s subdued and warm, but also kind of gritty,” Lage continues. “In thinking about the orchestration for this album, I wanted to foster the point of that arrow.”

On Auditorium, Lage makes full use of Frisell as a foil. The two have an understanding gleaned over many collaborations and performances over the years.

“There’s no one I would trust more than Bill Frisell to come into our trio ecosystem and be able to expand it while totally embracing it,” Lage said. “It became a beautiful collaboration that achieved the Technicolor experience that I’ve been searching for.”

View With a Room was produced by Lage’s wife, Margaret Glaspy, engineered by Mark Goodell, with post-production from Armand Hirsch. 

Lage also announced a string of dates for the Fall, commencing on September 13 at Oaks Theater, Pittsburgh, PA. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 24. See Julian Lage for full dates. View With a Room (opens in new tab) is available to pre-order.

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Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.