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Dave Douglas: Uplift (Greenleaf)

During his appearance at Winter Jazzfest 2017, saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings implored the audience that “We need new songs, new hymns, new myths.” Uplift, the latest album from the prolific trumpeter Dave Douglas, is, albeit indirectly, a response to Hutchings’ plea. The record’s 12 tracks ring as treatises in musical form rather than popular songs or … Read More “Dave Douglas: Uplift (Greenleaf)”

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The Nels Cline 4: Currents, Constellations (Blue Note)

Guitarist Nels Cline has always been a sucker for music that’s a bit mystifying—not easily described, transcribed or summarized. So no one should be shocked if he’s particularly pleased with Currents, Constellations, an audaciously charted collaboration with guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Perhaps “charted” is too strong a word, since … Read More “The Nels Cline 4: Currents, Constellations (Blue Note)”

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Julian Lage: Arclight

A departure in two major ways, Arclight is Julian Lage’s recorded debut on electric guitar and his first album to delve deeply into non-original material. The format is a simple trio: Scott Colley on double bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums, plus occasional percussion overdubs. The song structures are tight; only three of the 11 tracks … Read More “Julian Lage: Arclight”

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Nels Cline & Julian Lage: Room

This meeting of the guitar minds might sound like an improbable pairing: the 58-year-old Wilco guitarist known for his punkish avant-garde flights of fancy joining forces with the 26-year-old melodicist best known for his mastery of mainstream jazz guitar and his winning detours into bluegrass. Check your skepticism at the door. Nels Cline and Julian … Read More “Nels Cline & Julian Lage: Room”

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Fred Hersch & Julian Lage: Free Flying

Pianist Fred Hersch and guitarist Julian Lage are similarly masterful players and likeminded souls. Though primarily jazz improvisers, they share affinities for new collaborations, classical forms and soft yet intense dynamics. If they’re more than a generation apart in age, no matter. “For such a young musician,” Hersch writes in his album notes, “Julian has … Read More “Fred Hersch & Julian Lage: Free Flying”

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