Sounding Point showcases four different groups: Lage solo, his jazz combo, a trio with Bela Fleck and Chris Thile, and a duo with pianist Taylor Eigsti.
The previous reviewer seemed to mistake the subtle for the uninteresting. With the addition of a cellist and the substitution of a percussionist for a drummer, Lage's combo work is relatively low key, but by no means boring - it is rather quite engaging. 'Clarity' begins with abstract noodling, but soon comes together into medium-tempo waltz. 'All Purpose Beginning' is written in the style of film scores, with varying moods and degrees of intensity. 'Motor Minder' is an exciting Merengue-inspired song that dances between 5/4 and 6/4 time signatures.
For me, the real highlight of this album is Lage's trio work with Fleck and Thile. Fleck and Thile's playing is top-notch, and yet Lage easily holds his own against such veritable giants. Give either of their three tracks ('The Informant,' 'Long Day, Short Night,' and 'Alameda') a listen and you'll quickly realize this is clearly not elevator music. In fact, the first two such tracks almost demand active listening - anyone familiar with Fleck or Thile will understand. And though not as technically complex, their cover of Elliott Smith's 'Alameda' is one of the most enjoyable songs on the record, maybe topped only by heavy and aptly very bluesy 'All Blues.'
Sounding Point is a great debut record. It should not be overlooked.