Julian Lage Trio
with Jorge Roeder & Kenny Wollesen
The Peruvian bassist and composer Jorge Roeder was in his forties when he met Julian Lage, then a teenage guitar prodigy who was teaching at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Roeder, who would later play on Lage’s Grammy-nominated debut, Sounding Point, decided to test the upstart’s mettle in a jam session. “I don’t know why I did it,” he told The Boston Globe. But suddenly he altered the rhythm to an Afro-Peruvian one, just to see how Lage would handle it.
“It just seemed like second nature to him,” Roeder marveled. “I just thought, ‘OK, this guy is truly amazing. All the hype is accurate.’” Lage and Roeder went on to make Love Hurts and Squint, Lage’s Blue Note debut as a bandleader, with the former Bad Plus drummer Dave King.
At Big Ears, Lage and Roeder will be joined by drummer Kenny Wollesen, the perpetual John Zorn accomplice whose broad remit spans Tom Waits, Myra Melford, and David Byrne. Wollesen was in Lage’s trio on Arclight, the 2016 Telecaster-jazz album that blended originals with vivid interpretations of Spike Hughes and W.C. Handy, earning comparisons to Bill Frisell and Jim Hall. That year, the trio was programmed against Pat Metheny at SFJAZZ. “If Lage was feeling any pressure, he sure didn’t show it,” All About Jazz said. “Instead, what you saw was the bliss and concentration of a musician deeply connected to his instrument, buoyed by a rhythm section of supreme dexterity and versatility.”