Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage expands his horizons on View With A Room, a collection of 10 compelling original compositions out September 16 that marks his second release for Blue Note Records.
Having established a home base with his brilliant and deeply attuned trio of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King—most recently heard on the guitarist’s acclaimed 2021 Blue Note debut Squint—Lage casts his gaze outward to discover new orchestrational possibilities with the addition of six-string icon Bill Frisell, who adds his inimitable voice to this stunning album. View With A Room is available for pre-order now on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
Lage has also announced his Fall U.S. tour ‘View With A Room In Concert’, which kicks off September 13. Ticket pre-sales begin tomorrow with the general on-sale beginning this Friday, June 24 at 10am local time. Lage’s Summer tour schedule also includes a week at the Village Vanguard in New York City (July 26-31), as well as performances across Canada and Europe. See a full list of dates at the artist’s official website.
“In so many ways, I’ve wanted to make this record for years,” says Lage. “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?”
Without bolstering the line-up with additional instrumentation and more intricate writing, thus losing the maneuverability and venturesome spontaneity that he’s honed with Roeder and King over the last several years, Lage found his solution where he so often does: in the guitar.
“The answer came from some of the historical references that matter to me about the electric guitar,” Lage explains. “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. It’s both beautiful and kind of sharp; it’s subdued and warm, but also kind of gritty. In thinking about the orchestration for this album, I wanted to foster the point of that arrow.”
There’s no one better suited to understanding what Lage was seeking, who is better versed in the history of guitar and jazz and beyond, its personalities and possibilities, than Bill Frisell. The legendary guitarist has worked with Lage in several different contexts, including duo concerts and projects devised by John Zorn, and enhances Lage’s vision in atmospheric and incisive ways throughout View With A Room.
The pair honed in on a shorthand vocabulary rich with references as diverse as the Beach Boys, Keith Jarrett’s American and European Quartets, and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. The two guitarists’ subtle weave is at the heart of “Auditorium,” where Frisell’s agile rhythm work buoys Lage’s eloquent leads atop the gracefully subtle propulsion of Roeder and King.
“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 says. “It became a beautiful collaboration that achieved the Technicolor experience that I’ve been searching for.”
View With A Room was produced by Margaret Glaspy, his wife and musical partner who brings her own insights as a singer-songwriter to the lyrical and storytelling aspects that make Lage’s compositions so singular. She worked closely at Brooklyn’s Bridge Studios with engineer Mark Goodell, who Lage credits with “wrangling this album into a sonic place that references what we love best about classic Blue Note records while still feeling utterly contemporary and unique to the sound of this band.” Lage’s longtime friend and collaborator Armand Hirsch added integral post-production elements that bring the emotional intent of each song into focus.