GUITARIST JULIAN LAGE ANNOUNCES MARCH 1 RELEASE OF HIS VIVID & WONDROUSLY TEXTURED NEW ALBUM SPEAK TO ME PRODUCED BY JOE HENRY
17 JANUARY 2024 (TORONTO, ON) — Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage has announced the March 1 release of Speak To Me, his vivid and wondrously textured new Blue Note album produced by Joe Henry which offers a series of dispatches from his ongoing search for narrative beyond words. Intimate in tone and capacious in intention, the music travels a wide range of American music, and delights in the deliberate crossing of wires between gospel hymn and rural blues, California singer-songwriter sunshine and skronky jazz. The 13-track set of new Lage originals is introduced today with a 2-track single pairing the hard-driving, bluesy “76” with the atmospheric acoustic ballad “As It Were.” The album also includes the previously released single “Omission,” a reverent tune imbued with a pastoral swing.
Speak To Me showcases the guitarist in a variety of settings, including solo acoustic, duo, his accustomed trio with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King, and a larger ensemble with keyboards (from Kris Davis and Patrick Warren) and woodwinds (Levon Henry). It’s Lage’s fourth effort for Blue Note, and it’s part of a torrent of creative activity that includes his participation in Charles Lloyd’s Trio of Trios project and records with Terri Lynn Carrington, John Zorn, and Cautious Clay.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always responded to music that has a narrative quality to it,” Lage says, explaining that he sees his recent compositions as less a departure than an extension of originals from previous albums, notably his 2021 Blue Note debut Squint. “I believe there is a kind of connective tissue that music has, and it’s important, and it’s fun to cultivate.”
When Joe Henry—the singer, songwriter, and producer responsible for landmark albums by Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, and many others—first heard Lage’s songs in rough form he says he was immediately captivated by the challenge of the project: “For me it became ‘How can we make a record where Julian is improvising throughout, as is his gift, while we’re also attending to the song?’ Everything had to exist in service to the song form.”
Lage marvels at how Henry managed to shape the vibe of Speak To Me without speaking much at all. “Ever so discreetly, he would guide things,” he says. “Joe holds a space for things to happen. Sometimes that means getting everyone out of the way, or protecting the tune from someone getting in the way. It’s like he had a forcefield around the project.”
Speak To Me is available for pre-order now on black vinyl, CD, and digital download, as well as an exclusive color vinyl variant including the bonus track “Cars/Colors” which will be available on the Julian Lage Artist Store and the Blue Note Store.
The track listing for Speak To Me is as follows:
- Hymnal (Lage)
- Northern Shuffle (Lage)
- Omission (Lage)
- Serenade (Lage)
- Myself Around You (Lage)
- South Mountain (Lage)
- Speak To Me (Lage)
- Two And One (Lage)
- Vanishing Points (Lage)
- Tiburon (Lage)
- As It Were (Lage)
- 76 (Lage)
- Nothing Happens Here (Lage)
Lage will perform music from the new album this weekend during his 4-night residency at SFJAZZ and kicks off the full Speak to Me Tour in March 2024 with a run of U.S. shows followed by a tour of Europe. For complete details and ticket information, please visit www.julianlage.com/tour.
PHOTO BY ALYSSE GAFKJEN
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