I don’t think I would put this in the “Grail” category, but it is definitely a unicorn. I discovered Julian Lage after his 2021 debut with Blue Note Records. That release, titled Squint, may have been his Blue Note debut, but come to find out, he’s been around a while. Considered something of a jazz prodigy, Lage has been playing with jazz greats since childhood and eventually launched a solo career. Arclight is his eighth studio album. Since I discovered his music I’ve set out to add as much of his work to my collection as I could find. For the most part I’ve been fairly successful.
The one I could never find was Arclight. It has proven to be extremely elusive. Like, not for sale literally anywhere, ever. I assumed it was out of print. By chance a couple weeks ago I was flipping through my wantlist on Discogs and there was one copy of Arclight for sale in the Netherlands. It was not expensive but not exactly cheap either. Right in that meaty part of the curve that allowed me to buy it before I could finish the thought. I’ve had success buying overseas before so I decided it was worth the risk.
Released in 2016 featuring Scott Colley on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums, Arclight contains some really nice pieces. Comprised of mostly originals and a few covers Lage’s skills on the Telecaster shine. His original compositions are touching, interesting and in some cases exciting. While covers like Nocturne and the great jazz standard I’ll Be Seeing You are equally enjoyable. There’s a video out there of a live performance of I’ll Be Seeing You that you really shouldn’t miss. Arclight closes with Ryland, an original song I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live a couple years ago. If you have the inclination, go take a listen on one of the streaming services
I gave it a ‘hear’… I can’t say I listened 100% attentively, but I gave it a spin on YouTube (his channel) while I was working this afternoon.