That the guitar-playing would be brilliant was a given. Lage's remarkable technique - drawing from classical, folk and Indian schools as well as jazz - and unpredictable imagination are what got him hired in vibist Gary Burton's band when the guitarist was 12. The surprise, though, is in the laid-back acoustic freshness of the band's sound, consisting of Lage's guitar, Ben Roseth's saxophone, Aristides Rivas' cello, Jorge Roeder's bass and Tupac Mantilla's battery of percussion instruments (but no trap drums). It's a deep-feeling, fluid ensemble for Lage's elastic songwriting concepts.
Lage's band will be performing as the first installment of the Bearsville Theater's impressive Jazz Series on Saturday, June 27. A bit of the group's book will come via Sounding Point, which also features three trio numbers with Lage, banjo whiz Béla Fleck of the Flecktones and mandolinist Chris Thile of the bluegrass/classical Punch Brothers; two duets with pianist Taylor Eigsti; and two solo outings by Lage. Jay Collins, the über-talented reedman and vocalist, brings his band in during July, and the masterful trio of Pat Metheny, Larry Grenadier and Jack DeJohnette hold court for a few nights as August winds down.
Classically trained, formally schooled in Indian music and equally fluent in jazz, blues, bluegrass and folk, Lage has performed with such diverse performers, including Fleck and the innovative vocalist Nnenna Freelon. But certainly his discovery by Burton was a seminal turning point in his career. Burton, an eagle-eyed talent scout, was watching the Grammy Awards telecast in 2000 when he saw Lage do an extraordinary solo in an all-star youth band playing at the ceremony. Burton heard something special in the then-sixth-grader's (!) playing: an element that he knew would be a perfect fit in his quintet Generations.
Lage hooked up with Burton, touring and recording while a teen. Among the many highlights of this pivotal period for Lage are his contribution to two fine Burton albums, Generations in 2003 and Next Generation in 2004, both on Concord.
Tix are $20. Call (845) 679-4406 for info, or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.