Original jazz compositions by Julian, inspired by melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean and Balkans. Many of these compositions feature the tanbou bèlè drum of Martinique, a rarely heard instrument with a sound that sweeps between delicate and thunderous. I’m proud to play these songs with some of the area’s finest jazz musicians: Eugene Uman piano, Anna Patton clarinet, Don Anderson trumpet or Jon Weeks saxophones & flute, Wes Brown bass, Ben James drumset.
The Sextet released its first CD, “The One Who Makes You Happy,” in June 2017. Eleven songs range from Martinican bèlè in the bluesy “Dig It Deeper” to a fast Bulgarian kopanitsa in 11/8, “I Remember It Differently,” to the title ballad, a Bulgarian lesno (“slow song”). “Child Left Behind” is jazz built on a lively Cuban rumba guaguancó and is followed by “Apprendiendo Como Amar,” a folkloric guaguancó for which I wrote the lyrics, performed by myself and four of the SF Bay Area’s finest Cuban drummers and singers.
Polar Bear Meltdown
I Remember It Differently
The One Who Makes You Happy
Kalman Ka Mode
Child Left Behind
Apprendiendo Como Amar
The King Dreams of Flying
Dig It Deeper
Love That Stumbles Across the Earth in Ecstasy
Afro-Cuban traditional music and dance, with five dancers plus eight drummers/singers. Iroko Nuevo offers a vibrant stage show, dance and music classes, and workshops and demonstrations for schools, community centers and other occasions. Hear and learn about rumba, batá, bembe, makuta, iyesá, palo, toque de guiro, gaga, comparsa, and son.
Afrobeat, ska and classic funk in this band’s unquenchable repetoire. A tight rhythm
section with ripping horn solos and soulful vocals.
Bomba is part of Puerto Rico’s African heritage, brought “here” (Springfield MA) by
dancer Brendaliz Cepeda-Peñalosa, drummer Saul Peñalosa, and friends. I’m honored
to join this group’s celebration of their heritage. The dancing is joyous, the lyrics moving
and proud, and the drumming powerful.
Samba = Joy
A joint project with Derrik Jordan, who ran this Brazilian percussion group for twenty
years. We recently revived it as a community project, to share samba with friends and
perform for educational and activist purposes.