LAST night’s show by the young Santa Rosa native was one of the greatest jazz gigs your humber blogger has ever seen. Even knowing a few of his records and having seen him play a delicate, restrained, kind of perfect show with pianist Fred Hersch a few years back, I was knocked out by how fleet his playing was, and how well-matched to a more assertive style.
Lage, a onetime child prodigy who turned 30 a few weeks ago, is currently wielding a Telecaster, and playing standing up, with a powerful trio; his new LP, Modern Lore, echoes rockabilly and surf guitar as much as it does Eddie Lang or Wes Montgomery. In some ways he seems like the jazz-guitar version of Brad Mehldau, another player who mixes great facility with strong emotion and has been able to engage a relatively young audience. As with Mehldau, who can play Rodgers and Hart of the Beatles, this is not cheesy fusion or a forced art/ pop marriage — the melange feels real.
This clip, from a 2016 show at the Blue Whale, gives a sense of his current style. (He plays with a different bassist and drummer these days.)
Let me add that while the Bootleg — at which I’ve seen a range of things, from indie rock to a one-man-show — is always a place I end up enjoying. Intimate and cool in a way I can’t put my finger on.
For what’s it’s worth, there is a new list of best jazz guitarists — here — which has some wonderful clips. I don’t concur with all of it, but I’m glad to see Grand Green up so high. And worth nothing that Lage is the youngest here.