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Julian Lage unveils new trio album Squint, first single Saint Rose

Modern jazz guitar virtuoso and Collings signature acoustic designer Julian Lage has announced a new solo album, Squint, his first for Blue Note Records.

The new album sees Lage once again working in a trio format, backed by bassist Jorge Roeder and Bad Plus drummer Dave King.

You can check out the album’s lead single, Saint Rose, above.

Said Lage, “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, but when I think of albums from Grant Green’s Idle Moments to Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge to 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.”

Julian Lage's new album Squint

(Image credit: Blue Note)

According to Lage, the seeds of Squint were sown during the trio’s six-night residency at New York’s Village Vanguard in January 2020. After plans to hit the studio were upended due to the COVID-19 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 set foot in Nashville’s Sound Emporium in August, the tunes had taken on a “deeper, darker air of mystery and searching.”

Said Lage, “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. 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.”

Squint will be released on June 11 and is available for preorder here.

In the meantime, Lage is continuing his series of masterclasses with upcoming sessions on April 11 and April 18. A 30-minute solo performance will follow each class. Tickets are available here.

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.