23 April 2020

Jake de Jongh, a versatile musician in the Upper Sixth, recorded a guitar solo in March as part of his performing coursework for Music A Level. Jake has been kind enough to let us share his electric guitar performance. He says,

Day and Age is a piece from the album ‘World’s Fair’, the third album from the composer and jazz guitarist Julian Lage. I first encountered his work with his jazz trio in the album ‘Live in Los Angeles’ and from that point onwards he has undoubtedly become one of my favourite guitarist of all time. This piece was originally played on the acoustic guitar and in each performance, Lage improvises much of it, often with an entirely different introduction to each one. The performance I chose is from a demo he did for the acoustic guitar company, Collings, which he is affiliated with. Recreating a largely improvised performance presents many challenges, especially in trying to maintain the nuances of the original performance while still trying to sound natural and fluid. Lage, as a guitarist himself, writes very idiomatically and includes ambitious and unique chord voicings, natural harmonics as well as often utilising the fact that the same note can be played on multiple strings, each with a marginally different timbre, allowing him to create passages that would be impossible on many other instruments. Even after spending all this time working on this piece, I am still in disbelief at the technical control and emotion he is able to display in his playing and I have found this performance was a good opportunity to really focus on what makes Lage, as such a virtuosic player, so impactful in his playing”.

Jake is planning to study Mechanical Engineering at Birmingham next year.

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