Julian Lage will return to the Savannah Music Festival on April 7, bringing his innovative guitar playing along with his new album “Modern Lore,” which was just released this year.
“The Savannah Music Festival, as an organizer of the community, has really brought a lot of great listeners and music fans together,” Lage said in an interview with Do Savannah. “I always forget how comfortable I am there. I spend the rest of the year somewhere else and when I come back I remember, 'Oh yeah, this is home.'"
A guitarist and composer, Lage has played with many legends of jazz such as Gary Burton, Jim Hall, and more. Lage’s concerts contain a lot of improv moments, which make every individual show unique.
“A large majority of this coming show will be much heavier in the improv world,” Lage said.
Lage, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, has released six albums in a span of 10 years. The latest has been a critical success.
In an album review of "Modern Lore," NPR’s Nate Chinen says, “It's the strongest album of Lage's career so far, and the first that fully captures his trademark melding of fleet precision, open-road possibility and radiant self-assurance.”
Lage diversified his playing throughout the years from his childhood love of blues further into jazz, and now is starting to pull more folk, almost southern, style swings into his music.
“There are so many facets of the guitar originating from the south,” Lage said. “This new record is kind of a celebration of the electric guitar and therefore is inextricably linked to the southern region.”
Lage will be performing at the Charles H. Morris Center on a double bill with Bill Frisell, who is also an instrumental guitar player.
Lage will also be returning to the festival's Acoustic Music Seminar as an assistant director. The seminar is a workshop and mentorship program where students from ages 14-22 come to learn under musicians like Lage and mandolin legend Mike Marshall. The seminar will conclude with the Stringband Spectacular finale concert, where the students will perform their compositions and arrangements. That concert is at 11 a.m. April 14 at the historic Trinity United Methodist Church on Telfair Square.
“We work all week and then at the very end we put on a big show. It’s a really cool thing for the young musicians and everyone is held to a high level of intensity because of the nature of the program," Lage said.
In 1996, when he was 8 years old, Lage was the subject of an Oscar-nominated short documentary, “Jules at Eight." Just four years later at the age of 12, Lage was given the opportunity of playing at the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony. His first album “Sounding Point,” released when Lage was 21, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009, followed by nominations in 2013 and 2017.