Julian Hartwell is a pianist, composer, bandleader, and music educator based in Philly, PA.

Keep scrolling to learn/hear more!

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MUSIC

 

The next album from The JHP – LYVELIFE – coming in 2020!!!

Check out the official teaser here:

 

First single from (w/ official studio music video)

drops 6/19/2020 !!!

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“The Journey” – my debut solo piano single is out now!

*Click the pic above for links to ALL platforms, or:

Listen/Download/Stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp 

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The Julian Hartwell Project Debut Album

“Well worth a sample and repeated spins, The Julian Hartwell Project offers a splendid slice of straight ahead jazz delivered with a fresh new sound… this is one musical project that begs for an encore.”

“This is feel good music that doesn’t get too unapproachable like so many jazz groups get…making music that appeals not only to the head, but to the heart as well. It’s a fresh take, that somehow manages to sound like something old school AND brand new at the same time.”

“A tasteful package of modern jazz…Hartwell is one of the young lions of jazz in the making.”

Available wherever music can be found like

CD Baby, Apple Music, Amazon & more.

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UPCOMING SHOWS

Friday June 12th, 7:30 PM

Solo Piano Livestream on FB / Instagram LIVE!

Free to tune in, but donations gratefully accepted at Venmo @julian-hartwell-music

 

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Connect Here!

 

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Sign Up to the JHM Mailing List Here!

For the best way to stay in touch -The latest news, shows, & awesome fan perks! 
*newsletter is sent about once a month*

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LIVE TRACKS LIVE HERE!

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MY BLOG TOO!

(very occasional)

 

I can’t possibly imagine…

….what my Life would look like without Black America.

From my musical identity, to the most formative and foundational experiences of my life, I can’t imagine what my Life would look like without Black America. Here’s what I mean:

My livelihood, my Career, my Gift, my Passion, my means of Self-Expression, my ability to Help/Teach/Serve others, my Ability to Inspire others, all this and more is found in one word: Music.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did I find my way onto this path, this passion and dedication of life to Music?

I can point to countless experiences along my journey, but one is absolutely the cornerstone of ALL else that followed:

The Sunday morning I experienced the Music at Mason Baptist Church, a small and humble African American congregation on the outskirts of Birmingham Alabama, at the young impressionable age of eleven years old. My Mom’s family, growing up in the Old South, mind you, had “help” from a lady named Louise, one of the kindest, gentlest souls I knew. Well, years later she invited our family to her church, and the details of the sermon from the venerable Reverend Perry that day, and the extent of the absolute feast of the after-church Sunday lunch that followed are hazy. You know what isn’t hazy? The moment the Music ministry at that church, probably no more than 4 or 5 guys, began TO PLAY! I remember the organist started up, and already my ears ticked up. First off, I had never heard anything like this to date. They weren’t reading music, they were Feeling it in every fiber of their being and body. But I will never forget as long as I live, when that Drummer started to play, and really get going, churning the entire congregation and very building into a rhythm and a fever pitch I really can’t even put into words. THAT MOMENT I experienced the Spirit of MUSIC – or in that context we might even call The Holy Spirit – on a level I never knew possible. Looking back, I point to that moment right there as one that forever changed my life and made me absolutely obsessed with the possibility of what Music was capable of, the heights of sound, the sheer and palpable, raw, creative, Spirit-in-action that Music in its highest Glory can achieve.

I can’t possibly imagine….

…The shape my musical identity would then take, if it weren’t for Black America.

I was a budding piano student of around the same age, 11 or 12 years old, studying with the formative Jim Walbert, an old family friend who lived down the street from my house in Homewood, AL. We first tried a few classical pieces, a few themes from movies/TV shows..I was still more interested in getting outside and jumping on my skateboard. One day, he breaks out a little arrangement of something called “Prelude to a Kiss” (he had his own handwritten arrangements in the hundreds) and played those first chords for me. Again, like the Mason Baptist moment, I was stopped in my tracks. How could these harmonies sound so good, so rich? What on Earth was THIS!? Well, this was my introduction to the world of Jazz, and the possibilities of this rich American musical tradition opened up before me. Specifically, this is a Black American tradition, at its core. Where would this music be without the contributions of composers like Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles, Bird, Dizzy and so many more…? Mr. Walbert assigned me two of my first jazz CD’s, ever – A compilation of Duke Ellington’s big band classics, and the Oscar Peterson Quartet Live at the Blue Note. I listened to these CD’s constantly and from then on, my ear and my musical sensibilities have been hooked on this thing called Jazz, which we might just call Black American Music. Under that heading I also include – Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, RnB…so many variations and permutations of those styles and more that have informed my tastes and sensibilities over so many years, and continue to do so every damn day.

I owe such a debt to this musical tradition, it cannot be overstated. I have tried to humbly study and dissect this music for the last two decades and feel like I am still scratching the surface. I’ve tried to offer my small contribution to this music, through the lens of my own experience and original composition. I follow a continuum of a tradition that is so much larger than myself and my own story. This Music has literally payed my bills. This Music has given me the title of “Professor” at a major university, and the quote unquote status that affords. My “brand,” my career, my Art, ALL of it owes an incredible debt to Black American Music, and thus, Black America.

Which brings me to, finally…

I can’t possibly imagine….

What it’s like Being Black in America. I don’t know what it’s like to deal with the continual judgment of my worth as a human being – my abilities, my aptitudes, hopes, dreams, intentions, desires – simply based on the skin color I ended up with at birth. I don’t have any reference point for the feeling of continual fear, paranoia, trauma, that must accompany any and every interaction with the authorities, whether getting pulled over for blowing a light, or getting pulled over..for being black. I don’t know what it’s like to have to constantly wonder and worry every time a friend/child/relative goes out at night (or goes practically anywhere in modern day America) if they’ll return in one piece, or return at all. I can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to turn on the news, and again, see another black or brown life extinguished so mercilessly like that of George Floyd. Or Ahmaud Arbery. Or Mike Brown. I don’t know what it’s like to be understandably aggravated, tired, weary of all of this, for so long…and then be told to just grin and bear it, again and again, and to abide by the rules of a society that routinely dishonors and disrespects those rules when it comes to MY LIFE, MY destiny, MY very worth or ability to exist in that society. Even if I could really imagine it, I’ll still never have to really live it.

So, to conclude I just say –

Allow me to acknowledge my debt to Black America today. Allow me to confess my lack of understanding, my lack of Lived Experience. But please, don’t refuse or discount my empathy, my care, my concern, my gratitude, my wish to uplift and heal in whatever way, this thing called Black America. I believe these times call for Unity like never before, for Fellowship, for Brotherhood. I don’t support the destruction of business or property, but I support the protesting of injustice, of systemic inequality, of long-held ways and assumptions that just aren’t working in 2020 (and never really “worked”), and acknowledging that yes sometimes, there’s gonna be some necessary sacrifices in that process. I am inspired and encouraged that my generation is coming together in a whole new way to tackle the systemic problems that have been festering in this experiment called U.S.A for so long. I’m aware that this change has to come from the Ground Up. Ah, I have so many more thoughts, really.

But today I just wanted to say that no, I can’t possibly imagine what my life would look like without Black America.

Take care out there folks.

Peace and Love,

-J

. . .

P.S. Did you know that June is designated “African American Music Appreciation Month” ?? How bout that.

#thoughtsonthursdays

#blacklivesmatter

#justiceforgeorgefloyd

#justiceforahmaudarbery

#BlackAmericanMusic

#BAM

 

Words for 2020 (so far)

Ahoy folks!

Its been ages since I wrote a blog post. So what better time than here, now, in this wild and whacky 2020 we find ourselves in!?

I’m gonna keep this one fairly brief. I’m not gonna offer the full extent of my thoughts on the coronavirus crisis, or whine about how things have affected my life and music career, or even share what I think is REALLY GOING ON. I’m just gonna offer a few words that might best serve us at this very decisive, empowering, transformative moment in time, to say the least.

So in no particular order, in 2020 I suggest:

DISCERNMENT:

2020 is all about Vision. I’m gonna repeat that later in this post. Part of VISION is keeping perspective on what’s happening, no doubt, but also weeding through the sheer vastness of SO many theories, opinions, conflicting narratives, spins, remixes and takes on the TRUTH right now that it’s hard to know where to turn. We need to exercise new-decade-levels of DISCERNMENT right now to make head or tail of it all. What are the sources of our information? Who’s story do we really buy? Who’s pill do we swallow, who’s shot do we take!?

It seems that with every new take/opinion/ on the origin and agenda of the current crisis, there’s a counter-response, a chess move made made in return. Like chess, pausing to weigh our options and our moves requires a deliberate level of reflection and discernment.

We were endowed with sound minds and reasoning capacity, and the ability to make judgements for our best good, for a reason. So I just urge us all to question who’s narrative we are getting, and do a little more detective work to see the larger aims of said narratives, especially from those sources who’ve been proven time and again to deliberately mislead, misinform, or worst of all, deceive, the public. With all this work required on our parts, I’d say it’s equally important to take a step back, get a few good deep breaths, and listen to our gut! Which segues nicely into…

INTUITION:

Mission Critical at this juncture. Hand-in-hand with discernment, what really feels right TO US right now!? There’s alot of pressure to conform to mass opinion, to fall into the herd mentality more than ever. The audacity to think for oneself can land you in hot water, and get you labelled in one fell swoop as a “conspiracy theorist/nut-job/pick-your-poison” epitaph. But the price to pay for that means going against one’s inner knowing, one’s sense of what’s truly right, if it is honest and sincere. As it happens, the abundant time in self-isolation affords plenty time to go within and search for the real meaning in things, and gauge for ourselves what resonates on that deep level. Intuition starts with I, after all. This is a time for greater responsibility, an ownership of our judgement faculties, like never before.

Not only to make sense of the ever evolving chess game OUT THERE, we need to figure out what the heck our own path is gonna be through this storm. We are being forced to adapt (or even majorly overhaul) our careers, livelihoods, our very basic ways of surviving/existing in the world. And no one handed out a road-map for this, so we must create it. The true litmus test of any big choice is again, really feeling our way into that new path, as scary as it can be. If we can all really dial our intuition antennas up in a big way, I think we’ll emerge from the storms of 2020 in a much stronger and firmer place in our lives than before.

MOVING IN, THROUGH, AND PAST FEAR:

Turning on the news stirs up alot of fear. Not knowing when we’ll have a reliable income again creates alot of fear. The massive uncertainty of our direction, and the potential for even more roadblocks up ahead surely creates alot of fear. Go out in public or to the six-foot-distanced line at the grocery store and you can practically taste it. Don’t know about you but some days I can literally feel this fear in my body, and it’s quite powerful. So, fear is here and it’s quite real. It’s a totally natural, justifiable response…I’m not suggesting denying or pushing it away is gonna help anybody. So how do we deal with it in a constructive way? I suggest moving into it, through it, and finally, past it.

I think we’re ultimately better off allowing fear to do it’s thing on us initially, rather than trying to avoid or suppress it. The problem is dwelling on it and getting stuck in the mire of fear, being paralyzed by it’s constricting quality. One thing I’ve come to find in my own personal life is that fear is just a few degrees on the scale away from excitement, enthusiasm, passion, and action. A little bit of fear is actually helpful to us, spurring us on in a major way because we’re so inclined to get away from it. All success stories usually say something to the effect of – “Embrace discomfort. Your fear tells you the direction you need to go” and yadda yadda yadda. But I think there’s real truth in that. We don’t grow from everything being nice and comfortable all the time. So I think if we can really feel this fear, but then use it as fuel for moving in that new, uncharted direction, we’ll have a chance at putting fear in its right place, instead of letting fear having us stuck in place.

TRUST:

It’s not particularly a given even in the good times to Trust, really and fully, the course Life intends for us. All the moreso in times of global pandemics. But here we are, and we can wave our hands in despair and hopelessness, or we can access a deep part of ourselves that ultimately has the strength to Trust. Challenging times have a way of forcing us into trust – there isn’t much else we can do when all else looks uncertain. If we can surrender our need to understand, to fully know where it’s all supposed to lead, to have an answer – we can “let go and let God,” to use the old cliched expression. But true surrender is the only real way to get to the heart of Trust, after all. Can we trust that there’s a higher purpose to everything we’re going through? That there’s a Divine order to our lives and we have the wherewithal to deal with even the most unexpected, extreme challenges? I’m of the belief that we might have even chose to be here, at this crazy time on the planet. How much better might we sleep at night if Trust was our foundation? I think times like these steer us into Trust; we go into Trust kicking and screaming, or in calm surrender, one way or the other.

VISION:

2020 is all about Vision (there, i said it again) Ideal vision, after all, IS 2020! So now that we have had this real PAUSE — some would say, RESTART BUTTON — really pushed, where DO we want to take it from here? It’s clear by now — for all of us in different ways, and also in a majorly unique, collective way — that we had alot of other issues before a mass pandemic hit. We’ve lost income, routines, structures, and more…but we’ve also lost alot of negatives related to that old “normal” too. I think Nature agrees that a break from the global economy churning at full speed has some upsides…cleaner air, for one. We have a pretty blank slate moment to take advantage of here. It’s a wonderfully unique opportunity to really re-orient our goals, dreams, and visions to the type of person we want to be, and the world we want to have, like never before. I think it’s obvious by now that we’re not gonna return to that old normal, so instead of defaulting to what we know, what are we gonna create instead? I say, let’s proceed into the rest of 2020 with a mighty vision, and up our standards for the world we actually want to live in, and go boldly in that direction.

. . .

Anyways, that’s all I have to offer for now. I hope these words help you in navigating these wild times and staying adrift in the storm. I think 2020 has more in store for us yet. . . but if we can hold fast to these words and apply our own inner strength and power along the way, I’m confident we got this 😉

Much love, light, and health to all!

-J

I’m crowdfunding my next EP!!!

Hey guys!

It’s been a long time since I’ve wrote a proper blog post, right!?

Well, this one is pretty important. I’m ready to birth a new music release baby to the world, but this time I need your help!!!

That’s right. I’m trying crowdfunding!!! For the first. time. ever.

I’ve been wanting to attempt a crowdfund for a good long while. Why now? Because:

  • I have a full concept EP, featuring all my original songs and arrangements, ready to go into the studio with an array of special guest vocalists, instrumentalists, and more. It’s the most ambitious and grandiose vision for a project I’ve had yet.
  • I believe the whole “DIY” thing is a big fat myth. Especially in the music business right now. I don’t care what level you’re at. The turht of the matter is, it’s actually “DIWO” – Do It With Others. Everyone needs supporters, a street-team, people who believe in their mission…heck, just an intern to manage the day-to-day sh*tshow that is trying to run an independent music career all on your own, and still have time to create, on top of it !
  • I want to connect with my fans on a whole new level, in a new way. That’s why I’m offering some really cool behind-the-scenes rewards to give fans a real window into my creative process. As well as things like house concerts, music lesson packages, ask-me-anythings, and a few other additional rewards I’m going to add very, very soon.
  • Music is $$$ (read: expensive) to create, if you have any standard of quality you’re aiming for. Especially when no one feels entitled to pay for it once it’s out anymore (hello streaming payouts) I’m asking for fans financial support in advance, for them to feel not only invested, but excited, in and for the project’s success. I also have this wild theory that ALL of my band-members, and amazing special guests that I’m inviting onto the EP, deserve to get paid for their talents, too!! Imagine that!
  • I am willing and am most certainly going to be financing the promotion, marketing, touring, etc, etc myself once I have a product to share with the world. All I am asking for is a little bit o’ help to create that product in the first place.

OK, I think by now that you can tell I really care about this thing, and would rather not beg anyone if i have to.

Please, Please, Please check the link out below. Watch the promo video, read more of the story, check out all the rewards available, and tell your friends. I’m gonna need all the help I can get with this one.

https://launchpad.artistshare.com/Projects/Experience/1067/1631/#/story

I believe this music is fresh, forward-thinking, funky…. and what people are gonna need to hear in 2020 and beyond.

Support the process of its unfoldment and contribute to The LYVELIFE EP today!!!!

Thanks a million ya’ll, it really does mean the world.

Thank You Music!

December 27th, 2017

As part of my year-end reflections, I thought I’d re-adapt a private journal entry from this past November into a public blog post here on the site. Especially considering my last blog post was exactly 5 months ago now (woops) consider this part of my gratitude practice to honor the past year and share what’s been on my mind.

The day I originally wrote this I was feeling particularly grateful for the gift of Music – capital M – and all the blessings it has and continues to provide me with in my life so far. I address Music as a Person, an entity in her own right. To give some context, how bout I start with a few quotes from one of my favorite books on Music and Life (which I just skimmed over again this morning to my delight) – Victor Wooten’s The Music Lesson.

“Music? I replied. “I never realized you were really alive.”
I Know…Your approach toward me has been as if I am not real, like I’m a dream. You feel that I do not exist until you create me. And even then you feel I am a creation that is separate from you. Most musicians in your time feel as you do. Because of that, I am dying and in need of your help.”

“Music is already alive. You do not create it. So if that is your intention, you are already mistaken. Music, like children, already exist somewhere in complete wholeness. Your job is to recognize that. You help re-create the wholeness of Music by bringing it into existence on this plane.”

“The word ‘musically’ broken up becomes music-ally. That’s right! Play musically, and you become an ally of Music. You actually help Music do what it is here to do. The same is true with Nature. Play and act natur-ally, and you become a Nature ally, a friend, a helper, and a contributor to Nature.”

. . .

Now, onto the journal entry:

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you, Music.
Like seriously: Thank You Music!!!
You have given me so much, it’s actually hard to keep track of it all. It’s possible to take you for granted sometimes, I must confess, which really is a shame. I would do well to watch out for that!

After wrapping up my day in the studio just now, and finally just playing a bit of “How Deep is the Ocean”…into “Summer Night”…riffing on a bit of “Skylark”..
It just struck me how I feel this true connection to you again.
It’s always there on the periphery, humbly awaiting my invitation.
Crazy that I forget just how near and dear you really are to me!
And how much you have blessed me with in this process of learning, developing, sharing, following, seeking…You!

Directly or indirectly from Music I can attribute all of the following things:
– Meaningful, lasting Relationships and by extension,
– A meaningful place in Community or several different Communities
Travel to awesome places
A Living! Like seriously, the majority of my $income$ which has allowed me to not merely Survive but Thrive according to my fairly humble needs/standards. Steady gigs, freelance gigs, teaching gigs, private gigs, accompanying gigs, creative gigs, etc…
Product/Content: My own CD, videos, a book of original repertoire, scores…(and much more on the way!)
A Purpose in Life (or atleast, a pretty damn good Idea of it, anyway…)
Raw Expression in the form of Improvisation/Spontaneous Creation, Crafted in terms of Composing/Arranging..
– The Vehicle/Means/Platform in which to Tell my Vision to the World a la blogs, lyrics, trackstory, etc…
Growth: as in learning musical lessons that translate to Life Lessons, or learning Life Lessons in the context of musical situations, or useful experiences that could only have been brought about by being involved with Music…AKA feeling like my Journey in Music has contributed to my overall Spiritual Growth/Perspective/Understanding/Evolution in innumerable ways, some easily definable, some not…
– Probably a whole lot of other things I can’t even think of or specifically name in this moment…

I don’t think this is an understatement if I say, Music – you may truly be the greatest Gift in my Life.

I mean, definitely up there with the big ones like Health, Family, Life itself.

. . .

But one thing I am realizing is this: You need Care, Attention, Discipline, Quality Time, Reflection, Maintenance, Effort.

In other words, in order to be fed (literally as well as metaphorically as in ‘fed by the Muse’) I Have to Feed You!!!               It’s a two-way street. It takes two to make this a tango baby.

As in, if I’m slackin, or unmotivated, inhibited, unsure, cold, not inspired to do the work and connect with you first…it’s no fault of your own. Like, I have to make first contact. Atleast probably 90% of the time anyway. It really couldn’t work any other way.

In order for you to Light the Fire, I have to build it first.

The Muse doesn’t just…“Show Up”.

Because Music, you take note! Alright, let me compose myself…
(You didn’t really think I’d make it through a whole blog post without atleast a few puns did you!?)

I could probably write a book here, from these reflections alone.

So let me just wrap up by saying – it’s been a great, musically enriching and abundant 2017, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for me in the year ahead.

Let me say, for today and all time, Thank You Music. Thank You!!!

(prayer emojis)

#yearendreflections #yearinreview #thankyoumusic #gratitude #music-ally #lastblogoftheyear

Why I’m over “Resist”

July 27th, 2017

 

I’m over “Resist.” As an end-all, be-all credo for this current historical moment. Let me explain.
To me, it feels limiting. It smacks of fear, immaturity, and a lack of imagination.
Even physics teaches us that Resistance Makes Stronger.

I think we can do better.
I propose we step up to the plate, that we choose a word (or words) that empowers..inspires..that actually helps create the kind of world we DO want to see, not the one where our only default choice is to merely “resist.”

So I’m going to offer some different words.

Let’s Redefine:

The Terms themselves! Are we, the masses of everyday citizens, just passive bystanders of history, watching as “they” stay corrupt and continue to pillage what’s left of this country? Are ALL we allowed to do is merely “resist?” We have to redefine just who is running the show here. And in my book, We Are! Ultimately, I think we are subject to the will of a higher power, yes. But I think that higher power handed down to us, its creation, a major aspect of itself, its image, too. Namely – Creation, dummy! We ALL decide individually and collectively the shape of things to come. If we redefine ourselves as co-creators of this reality we lift the burden off of those “in charge”..and also take on the responsibility which we know deep down is ours alone, anyway. The inability to properly define oneself, in a way that serves ones highest good, is probably one of the greatest tools of the oppressor used throughout history. When people are in “resistance” mode only, lacking awareness of their true creative edge, THAT is where the real danger lies.

 

Let’s Reclaim:

The aspects of ourselves that we still deeply resist. You know, the things that lie deeply buried in our subconscious and barely see the light of day. Those aspects of our “shadow” that we more often project unto others through judgement, ridicule, scape-goating, etc. Let’s embrace the dark within us by shining an honest light on the ‘wild and untamed nature’ we all have, in order to become whole, fully integrated. So much “resistance” to me seems a denial of reckoning with the enemy within just as much as the one without. The irony is that when we fully reclaim and accept our shadow as a part of US, we then reclaim our power, and ultimately, our peace, from the hard work of self-transformation.

 

Let’s Revise:

Our framework for governance, if it’s failing so bad. If the “powers that be” are so miserable, why do we keep giving them our power in the form of attention, mental energy, so much loud ‘resistance?’ Let’s revise and rewrite our rules, our standards of conduct, taking a proactive approach instead of decrying what’s not working.

 

Let’s Restore:

The Biosphere, the Creation. Restore our broken, severed relationship with this planet and its creatures that have both been so abused in these past centuries of industrial civilization. Restore our ego and elevated views of ourselves from ‘over and above’ the Eco-sphere to deeply embedded WITHIN it, the way Nature intends. We might learn to see this period as a “return home” to a more natural state of living and being…with much sacrificing and (some chaos) in the short term to our lifestyles, our identities, our expectations and entitlements depending on our level of attachment to same. Perhaps “resist” is the collective reflex of well, resistance, to the inevitable (and incredible) transformation of Self involved in the restoration of not only nature but ourselves in the process. After all it’s generally easier to stay in a familiar and ‘comfortable’ level of being when the other option is the complete unknown, the path one has never taken before. Which in our case looks alot like acting on the realization that unlimited growth can’t continue on a finite planet. The times call for a massive downsizing and scaling of everything we do and need to the local level. The future demands conscious building. Which obviously takes…

 

Let’s Retool:

Ourselves and our communities, for skills, strength, health, resilience, strong networks. So much anger and resistance stems from dependency on massive (and failing) systems. Healthcare, welfare, government assistance, cheap energy – all depend on massively inflated and elaborate systems that are out of scale, and thus, unsustainable for the communities they ‘serve.’ Instead of staying servants to systems that don’t serve us, imagine the empowerment that might result if we re-tooled ourselves with local agriculture, small health co-ops, community networks of care, trade, and barter.  If we equipped ourselves with the skills and know-how to make a large amount of the things we need or extend the life-cycle of things in general. And if we took rightful ownership of our health as OUR priority, not anyone else’s (imagine that) ! Acquainting ourselves again with preventive lifestyle choices, natural and herbal medicines, emotional and spiritual IQ, ancient spiritual wisdom. No short order, but the possibilities for asserting more control and ownership into our lives are much more appealing than a constant hand out. Which means we’ll definitely have to…

 

Let’s Revisit:

The Truth of Who We Are. And the wisdom found in countless ancient (and many modern) teachings that help us form that picture, however unique and particular for each individual. I hate to break it you, but ignorance isn’t bliss, especially anymore. That’s a commonly mis-attributed quote (“If ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be Wise“). It leads to confusion, suffering, hurt people who are generally unaware of why they’re even hurting. That’s why the ancient dictum Know Thyself is the great mandate to continually bump humanity up to the next operating system. In truly knowing one’s innermost Self one knows the Universe and one’s place in it. We might not even just want to re-‘visit.’ We might wanna stick around this place for all the guidance, direction, wisdom we’ll ever need at every moment in the Journey.

 

Let’s Re-imagine:

The whole Game itself – the players, the puppeteers, even the damn stage we’re standing on. The possibility that we are influencing and creating this reality to a much more literal degree than we’ve quite realized up to this point. We’re only gonna bring about the world we don’t have to “resist” all the time by boldly Imagining what that’s really gonna look like. After all everything we see now before us exists because somebody or something, somewhere, Imagined It first. Maybe we thought we’d be at the pinnacle of history by now, at some grand victory of the success of industrial civilization. But the surroundings are looking quite different at the moment and we can’t afford to have yet another outsider Imagine our Reality for us. We’ve gotten here because we let Country, Religion, Party, Leader, Guru, etc take the reigns for so long..probably important stepping stones in our evolution. But I think the reason alot of these things feel like they’re not working anymore is because we’ve stepped into a vacuum of sorts, an open space. One where the Universe is asking us “But…what do you want ? How much of our current life is spent fulfilling the wishes and desires of others? Not acting on our most deep rooted convictions and visions of what could be ?? As they say, a problem can’t be fixed with the same thinking that created it. Thinking is great, and we need plenty of it, but we need to give ourselves full permission to all-out Imagine right now! Choosing to Re-imagine over ‘resist’ is asserting a definite ideal, drawing a distinct picture, having a sure hand. At the end of the day, if being continually upset by the antics of uncaring politicians is preventing you from doing anything constructive, that’s a serious problem.

It’s all about growing up and asserting our place at the driver’s seat of our lives and collective fates.

And it’s just better than “resisting” all the time.

#thoughtsonthursday #resist #overit #newwordsneeded #reimagineyourlife #bethesolution #bethechange

The Process

July 18th, 2017

Some recent reflections after my last show brought me to fill a whole page in a fresh journal.
In a way this was a reminder, if you will, from myself to myself.
Some much needed encouragement from a “higher” view of my journey, to the here and now moment of said journey.
Now that I’ve had a moment to breathe with it a bit…consider this also some advice/encouragement to you as well, dear reader. Apply it however you see fit, to any and all areas of your Life that feel like it can relate.

So from the journal to the blogosphere, here goes:

Remember – THIS IS A PROCESS !!!

The Process is a Gift, and every moment in the Present (Presence) of this Process is a Gift, too.
Not only is it a Gift, it is a Lesson.
In fact, all the Lessons learned, in and through the Process, are precisely the Lessons meant to be learned.
The Goal is actually not the end of the Process…
The Goal is the Process itself.
To be fully rooted in, grateful for, joyful in –
the beautiful, messy, arduous, strengthening, exhausting, contradicting, unpredictable, exciting, long, fun –
Process. And no more.
That “destination” …is just another Step. Another Plateau.
“Failure” doesn’t really exist. There are only Outcomes. (not my original idea but I like it)
There are only Actions, and Consequences.
Non-action also has its Consequences.
So: Can I be so caught up in the doing of the work, the manifesting of the Process, the Creative Journey –
that all else becomes irrelevant?
That all the thoughts, fears, worries, anxieties…even the larger hopes, wishes, desires..
become secondary to Full Immersion in the Process itself?
This Immersion in the Process must inevitably be tied to…
Purpose.

So, I leave with you with this –

“Find Your Purpose in the Process!”

On ‘The Mission’ – H.U.R.I.

November 10th, 2016

The time is ripe for another blog post from Julian Hartwell Music.

This has been a week to remember, to say the least. Our country continues to reel from Tuesday’s election results and everything that those results represent.
However, I’m not here to talk about that. You can get plenty of that elsewhere!

You see, I look at my role as an Artist as a very sacred role. I love sharing my gift, creating and crafting my discipline, and communicating through the universal language that is Music.

However, there are times when it goes BEYOND THE MUSIC.

This is one of those time…when I feel compelled to let you, my fan/visitor/listener, in on the less obvious part of what I do.
Something beyond the day-to-day news, shows, latest releases and the rest.

So let’s dive in 😉

The author Andrew Simonet points out in his short but powerful book Making Your Life As An Artist that more often than not the greatest and most ‘successful’ artists in the long run are not merely ‘Career Driven’ but fundamentally ‘Mission Driven.’

They look at the career milestones they achieve as avenues and channels through which to tirelessly pursue their Vision, AKA their Mission: A distilled Core Belief or set of beliefs, a Principle, a Message.

All Great Art has this. The Mission transcends technique, status, material, mode; even historical epoch or limiting circumstances. It is the Engine that drives everything else, the Heart and Soul of the Artistic Path, and the Commitment that prods the aspiring creator to again and again get back into the studio, the canvas, the pen, the script, the stage.

This long-winded preamble is not to say that I am one of these ‘Great Artists.’ I’m definitely a work in progress and surely have a ways to go before I can say I’ve crystallized my vision to any real, tangible extent in the real world just yet.

But it’s a process and there’s time for that.

I do feel I have honed to some degree my ‘Mission’ and it is that which I am willing to share with you today. Thus,

My Mission is to H.U.R.I – To Heal, Uplift, Remind and Inspire.

Through any and every aspect of the work I do – performance, composition, arrangement, band-leading, production, collaboration, accompaniment, education – I aim to:

1.) HEAL: There should be no doubt by this point that our World is in serious need of some Healing right now. Physical, Mental, Spiritual on an Individual level; Social, Cultural, Ecological, Planetary healing on the Collective level. Two sides of the same coin. The dis-ease at root of most of our current problems stems in so many ways from the separation between these two viewpoints or co-existing realities. And it seems on all fronts that before we can truly move forward in our evolution as a species we must find ways to Heal, in ourselves and in community, the combined and lasting traumas of so much greed, violence, abuse, racism, hate, malevolence, egotism, and division that plague the collective psyche.
In these times especially, any form of Healing is a sacred and immensely valuable tool to transform our social wounds into the elixirs of forgiveness, compassion, empathy, love. Masters of both Science and Spirit tell us that Vibration is at the heart of all matter – the Cosmic Sound, the Word, the all-pervading “Harmony of the Spheres,” the Energy that creates and destroys worlds. With Sound and Vibration as my medium I know I can harness and send Healing power to my audience, and thus to net-effect the wider culture or people at large. In speaking the Universal Language I believe Musicians have a special role in Healing ourselves and others, communicating on subtler dimensions where words will always fail.

“By linking art and healing, we gather up fragments of our psyche and form a new whole. Art becomes a healing force to the degree that the artist can embrace and integrate the pathological shadow aspects of our collective being and still clearly point to the source of transcendent wellness and radiance that is our constant potential.” – Alex Grey

2.) UPLIFT: As I was walking outside today on the daily grind, I was struck by a thought to send my fellow passers-by – “Stay Lifted, Ya’ll!” There is definitely a palpable sense of trepidation, anxiety, worry, and fear in the air right now. And rightfully so. But at some point it takes me back to the “U” of my mission statement – I just want to uplift the people and communities around me. The problems facing us can sometimes feel overbearing to the point that only those qualities take over; the joy we once knew or smile we once wore is lost. That is a sad place to be for humanity, no matter what we’re going through. In today’s day and age we have to daily, consciously, choose and maintain a tranquil, positive equilibrium to our emotions, thoughts, and actions to not sink any further down. I know it’s tough sometimes. But as the “U” of Uplift suggests, we all need YOU, AKA Each Other, to Lift Ourselves Up and carry the burden together, and Share in the simple Joy that is being alive, the small things to be appreciated, the countless and often obscured acts of kindness that happen everyday while we’re too busy looking down at the mud beneath our feet. If I leave a listener just ever so slightly in a better mood than when they arrived, I will have succeeded in this aspect of my Mission. When we are (up)Lifted we can see the world from a higher perspective – we can be grateful for both the blessings and the trials of our lives, we can notice the beauty of a flower somehow growing out of the same mud. Besides, the view is ALWAYS better the higher UP we go! I’ll take the window seat ; ) Which brings me to #3…

3.) REMIND: Ahh yes, this is probably the most contentious point of them all, but I’ll be as succinct as I can. The “Remind” I’m going for can take on many levels, but in a nutshell, it’s to Remind You of Who You Really Are! I can’t profess to have all the answers, but from what I can tell, You are a Mighty and Divine being! A Spiritual Being having a Human Experience, not the other way around. Or “both and.” You Are…A Great Mystery…the Question and the Answer.
So much of our current problems I see stemming from ignorance, plain and simple. Ignorance of our true nature, of the Self within, of the reality and dignity of every single unique and individualized strain of Universal Consciousness/Spirit/God/Energy I call “Me” and you call “You.” From the Illusion of Separation that creates an “Us” and a “Them.” A “me/mine” and an “Other.” And ignorance, like the mud from #2, clouds, distorts, dirties, detracts and distracts from the “Big Picture.” It always has.
But there’s a remedy! And every legitimate religious or mystical path on the planet has sought That Remedy in some sort or another, even while continuously getting clouded up again and again by those same old human weaknesses, sins, etc a lot of the time. That remedy is Wisdom – Knowledge of our True Nature and the Nature of the Cosmos in which we live. Some call it Truth, The Logos. Many call it God, but often get a little too obsessed and fighting over the details. The Remind I’m going for with my Music and my Art is something like the great exhortation to “Know Thyself!” at the heart of the Path(s) that we have taken since time immemorial to figure out just exactly what that is. I think we still have a long way to go, but we also have an amazing array of wisdom traditions and teachers at our disposal from which to choose depending on the particular point of our search and the needs of our Soul. The Reminder is that for every perspective in this Universe, there is still a higher perspective, and another still, and another. And that the expressions and circumstances of your life have a meaning, a reason for being, and that we ARE all here for a Reason, after all. I hope to somehow serve that great Reminder through the narratives and story I craft into Music, my particular expression of that Self at this point in time and space.

“Our whole business in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.”
– Saint Augustine

4.) INSPIRE: And lastly, the final cornerstone that ties all points together and brings it all home. My Art and my Life can never exist in a vacuum, and it’s never really “Art” anyway until it can go Out into the World and interact with a real audience/observer/viewer and the current paradigm. This is where most of the fun is and also most of the challenge. My role is not only to express the visions, voices, and vibrations swimming around my own head, but to Inspire and Motivate others to use and share their own unique talents and gifts, artistic and otherwise. It’s the beautiful shared exchange of Art making that I don’t do this just for “me” – I do this to help kindle the fire of Inspiration in some way or another for your own creative life, to Remind you once again that You too are a Creator at your core and your Life is a work of Art in itself that I’M INSPIRED BY, for goodness sakes! We are all Artists. And in a world of budget cuts to art and music programs I need to make sure I’m somehow sharing to the younger generation especially a love and a spark for imagination and the creative arts that will help guide them along their own artistic journeys. I know the World is stronger for it.
And after all, there’s two I’s in Inspire…you and me! ; )

“The word ‘Inspire’ refers to the breath, which has always been associated with Life and Spirit. To breathe means that our bodies are alive. To in-spire is to be in-spirit. Spirit brings vision to the artist via the imagination, the multidimensional media center of our minds. The masterful artist transcends the limited sense of self and becomes an active channel of universal creative spirit.” –Alex Grey

“Aspire to Inspire before you Expire.” – Unknown

“H.U.R.I!” – Julian Hartwell

Thanks for making it this far! You rock AND you have a really great attention span! I hope this helps.
I know it helped me…I feel like I just underwent legit Artist/Mission Statement therapy and it feels great.

Cheers. And don’t forget to keep honing YOUR Mission, too.

-JH

#thoughtsonthursday #likealotofthoughts #missionstatement #artvision #findyourmission #tellyourvision

Fall Updates!

Happy Fall, all!

It’s been a bit since writing one of these eh?….too busy writing, playing, and performing my music! (duh)

Fall is a great time to get back in touch with oneself..moving inward once again as the Earth does the same..cracking open a good book or two..and of course listening to soothing piano music..heavy, thoughtful, creative original music..live, funky music….all by ME, of course. *gotta talk it up*

So, here’s whatsup!

I’m excited because I have what’s shaping up to be a nice lil’ season of special shows coming up!

It’s a veritable sprinkling of literally EVERYTHING JULIAN HARTWELL MUSIC! Quality, not quantity 😉

For instance, there’s the Pastorius Community Garden Fall Festival, where TWO of my bands will be playing, THE JHP with some fresh new music and members, and French St Gumbo doin’ it’s THANG! What a gift to perform on the stage that I helped build, in the garden I helped found, to the community I’ve come to know over the past year + which continues to grow bringing neighbors, farmers, thinkers, dreamers, together around the one thing we can all agree on these days it seems – access to delicious, local, thoughtful FOOD and the simple joy that brings.

Then, the JHP gets back down and dirty at the ‘ole Philly jazz watering hole Chris’ Jazz Cafe.
I’m unveiling some brand new compositions, arrangements, even members…A night not to be missed if you like jazz that makes you wonder “what even is this ‘jazz’ thing anyway, is this ‘jazz’?…and why i am i wanting to stand up and dance right now?…and why does Julian banter so much?” You get my drift. *gotta talk it up*

In November I’m positively hyped to have a SOLO PIANO PERFORMANCE (I gotta do more of those..huh?) at the incredible Rittenhouse Soundworks in Germantown!!! If you haven’t heard of this place, well I’m not surprised. It’s truly a hidden gem of a recording/performance/multi-media arts Powerhouse in a beautiful space! Their monthly “Musician’s Gatherings” bring together amazing multi-genre talent and just simply have to be experienced for oneself. And I’m honored to be on the bill premiering several of my original solo piano compositions in this intimate setting…which brings me to…

I have a solo piano single getting ready to be released! Well, calling it a “single” just doesn’t do it justice.
It’s actually a suite, honestly, in three movements. “Land of Lotus” is probably one of my more extensive piano compositions and it feels GREAT to be FINALLY putting the finishing touches and recording it in my home studio. Let’s just say it’s been in the workshop for far too long and it’s ready to see the light of day.
It’s coming out within a few weeks so LOOK OUT FOR THAT!
And this will of course spur me to record many more that have been awaiting to see that light, ever helping me realize my artist-identity as a solo pianist/composer/performer in its own right. (oo i just rhymed too, yo.)

And lastly, (atleast at the moment) I’m a FEATURED ARTIST with Jazz Bridge in their Neighborhood Concert Series 2016-’17 Season!!! This is a great organization that raises money to support jazz and blues musicians in crisis, as well as producing performances all around the tri-state area and featuring some fantastic local talent and beyond. I’ll be performing with my trio at Fellowship Hall, the Roxborough edition of the neighborhood concerts. Since I don’t trio all that much (guess I just like them horns and beefy arrangements..after all I am a Horner remember) this is a great opportunity to catch me stretching out as a pianist on a few of my more ‘heavy’ tunes…we’re talkin 5-6 pages+, people. Some most folks haven’t even heard before. And also featuring the jazz trio interplay that happens with my brother on bass and our dynamic drummer Matt Jernigan which I’m excited to present as just yet another expression of this thing called ‘Julian Hartwell Music.’

So these are all the wonderful things going on in the world of Julian Hartwell Music this Fall!
I always like to full you in on just a lil’ more than the who, what, where, what times…with the backstory and the trackstory and the reason why YOU need to listen, Be There, Support..cuz’ you really do. *gotta talk it up*

Since you made it to the end of all this talking (typing), you get rewarded with more of me talking! (actually talking)
Check out this video produced by Jason Fifield and Jazz Bridge to promote the series and me!

Thanks all, and again, Happy Fall!

#fallupdates #julianhartwellmusic #goodstuff #gottatalkitup

What’s new with JHM!???

July, 2016:

Whatsup World! Well…happy to reach out to you again! If you’ve ever paid my site a visit before, you might’ve noticed how I’ve neglected to update this blog for a MiNuTe here! But…owing to the urgency of our times..the role of artists to speak + live their truth..the respect for keeping my fans in the loop..I promise from now on to change this not-so-great habit for the better!!! Sooo let’s get to it ~ what IS up in the world of Julian Hartwell Music lately!?

In short – This Summer is shaping to be quite a hot one, what with all these irons in the fire right now!
I’ve been steadily thickening The JHP BOOK with its 25+ song repertoire, AKA writing + arranging…cleaning + tweaking…Not to many shows this Summer with The JHP at the moment because keeping 6 bandmates all in one place is proving tricky, but I have some big plans come Fall in terms of recording and releasing new material.
So stay tuned for that!

I recently gave my SoundCloud music page a ‘Summer Makeover’, putting up some exclusive live tracks and samples from past gigs with the JHP, in addition to a few from the album of course. With this I’ve begun a new tradition that will accompany any new music I release — {THe TrackStory} — This is the back story, the narrative/inspiration/spirit of the song you hear. Not only does it give you something to read while you listen (a multi-sensory experience!) but consider it my way of bringing you into my World as a composer a bit more — what makes me tick…a little bit of my philosophy/worldview…a way to share the inner message of a song that no matter how effectively composed and executed, still might need some explaining. So, when you go to listen to a particular song on my page, be sure to open each track individually and read the accompanying {TrackStory} behind each one! You can do all that here — https://soundcloud.com/julian-hartwell

P.S. — Look out for some NEW Solo Piano Material coming soon to that page, as well!

As far as other projects — French Street Gumbo is going Back in the Studio hard this August to wrap up our first Single!!!
I can’t share too much more at this moment, but I can promise you, it’s gonna be our first BIG splash and Music Launch, so needless to say we can’t wait to show the World just what we’ve been sitting on for a while now….and all this as the Live Set continues to be crafted and mastered with our New Drummer too, btw…

And in August I’ll also be going in the studio with talented singer/multi-instrumentalist The Derek Anthony AKA Palatine on a new track of his coming up!

Lastly, I finally joined the TwitterVerse recently (about time!) so as you can see at the top of this page, follow me @jewelz_hartwell for occasional quotes/thoughts and in-depth insights into the mind and inspirations of JHM!

With everything currently going on in the world and in our country right now…I’m taking a positive approach to it all by going harder than ever and Accepting My Sacred Role As An Artist ~ By creating Music that Uplifts, that Heals, that Inspires, that Reminds us of our transcendent Unity and Power to Create the Life We Desire …. YOU and the World deserve It! And I can’t THANK YOU ENOUGH for being a part of the Journey with me!

Until Next Time ~

-Julian

#smilewhileyougrind #createsomethingtoday #updates #latest #julianhartwellmusic