StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge


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With appearances here this week by both Mike Stern and Ralph Towner, it's already been a good month in St. Louis for fans of jazz guitar, and it's not over yet.

Guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, who will perform next Wednesday, February 22 at Off Broadway, may operate in a very different stylistic realm than either Stern or Towner, but their skills are equally worthy of attention from serious guitar enthusiasts.

Lage, 29 years old, was a child phenom who's been in the public eye since he was the subject of the 1997 documentary Jules at Eight. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, he has recorded four albums as a leader, the most recent being Arclight, released last year on Mack Avenue.

In addition to his own group and his duo project with Eldridge, Lage also works with bands led by vibraphonist Gary Burton and drummer Eric Harland, and has been heard on recordings by Burton, Harland, pianist Taylor Eigsti, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, guitarist Nels Cline, and others.

Eldridge, 34, is the son of noted bluegrass guitarist Ben Eldridge, and is best known as a member of the eclectic acoustic band the Punch Brothers, who blend bluegrass with rock, classical and extended forms.

He began his music career working with his dad's band The Seldom Scene, and after attending Oberlin University, helped found the bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters. Originally begun in 2006 as a side project for Eldridge and mandolinist Chris Thile, the Punch Brothers eventually turned into a full-time band, and have released six albums on the Nonesuch label.

Lage and Eldridge released their first recording as a duo in 2013 and as their schedules permit have continued to play live dates intermittently since then, blending genres in an all-acoustic presentation that draws on material ranging from honky-tonk country and bluegrass to jazz and pop standards to original compositions.

In the first clip up top, you can see Lage and Eldridge performing “Bone Collector" from their second album Mount Royal, which will be released next Friday, February 24 on Free Dirt Records.

After the jump, there's a video of them playing “Butter and Eggs" and “For Critter" as recorded in September 2016 at Flathead Lake in Montana, followed by a clip of “Whiskey Before Breakfast," which was recorded October 30, 2016 at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.

The next video features a version of “Mean Mother Blues" recorded in November, 2015 at the first-ever Fretboard Summit in Santa Cruz, California. The final two clips are “Ginseng Sullivan," from August 2013 at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, and “Someone To Watch Over Me" from January, 2014 at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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