One of my favorite forms of music is jazz. I even know why -- it's the improvisatory nature of jazz that delights me both intellectually and musically. And one of my favorite groups to see in person way back then was the Chico Hamilton Quintet. Hamilton was a cellist, and he was unique in his time. The Julian Lage Group happens to contain a cellist. Thus it was that I was especially prepared to pay close attention to the performance, and I assure you, the energy that I used up in paying close attention to the incredible performance that these five young jazz musicians was more than recompensed by the rewards that I read by paying attention.
The Redstone Recital Hall on the UVM campus on Saturday, October 17, was abuzz with tales of Lage said, the child wonder, who at last appeared on the stage of the Redstone campus when he was 14 years old. In the intervening seven years Lage has pursued the study of music, including studying Indian music at the Ali Akbar College of music, and is currently studying classical composition and Berklee College of Music in Boston. There was no available for the other four members of his Group, but based on what took place on stage, they all have formidable talents, especially Jorge Roeder, the bass player, and Tupac Mantilla, drums/percussion. Also on board were Ben Roseth, saxophone and Aristides Rivas, cello.
To try to e for convey some of the flavor of the evening, I'll start with Lage, who is a formidable guitarist with incredible technique, and one of the deepest-seated connections to improvisatory music that I've heard in a very long time. It's not simply that he understands chord changes and harmonic structure so that he can play freely inside the structure that he and the other members of his Group builds so easily. It goes way beyond that to a perception of rhythm that is as free-wheeling as one could wish for, to knowing (and in this case, showing freely) when two improvisatory musicians have hit upon the same idea of improvisation,, and expressing that recognition with the joy that may cause one or both of the musicians to jump off the floor, or to smile and acknowledgment, or to give voice to the pleasure of arriving at the same spot without planning to do so. Lage specializes in his ability to perceive these moments and to take joy from the serendipity of such collocation. It happened over and over again Saturday evening, and Lage is anything but shy when it comes to recognizing when such occurrences take place.