The Julian Hartwell Project is a modern jazz quintet with an upbeat and groove-heavy aesthetic. Featuring a cadre of up-and-coming young players from the Philly scene, the group serves up a high-energy blend of funk, soul, RnB, fusion and more into a modern jazz framework, embracing tradition while pushing contemporary bounds. Led by pianist/composer Julian Hartwell, the group offers by turns engaging and adventurous horn arrangements, propulsive rhythm section grooves, and a distinct knack for melody; the combined effect of which continues to garner descriptions like “warm, approachable, fresh,” even “memorable,” from both critics and audiences alike. Counting artists like Roy Hargrove, Theo Croker, and Snarky Puppy among his primary influences, Julian yet seeks to bring something new to the table as he develops his own voice not only on the keys but through an ever-growing body of original compositions. Adept at drawing on a wide stylistic heritage, the band is equally at home on the posh jazz club stage or a packed DIY house show, taping in to the needs of the moment depending on context and crowd.
The JHP released their self-titled debut album in 2015, an all-original effort that garnered critical acclaim from All About Jazz and many others. In addition to continuing to hone their dynamic live set in performances throughout the greater northeast US and beyond, the group plans to release much-anticipated new music at last this coming Spring of 2020, in a highly-collaborative concept EP that will showcase new creative directions for the group, including more electric instrumentation, special guest vocalists, and much more.
Sophisticated yet down-to-earth, booty-shaking AND thinking-man’s music…it is becoming abundantly clear that the ensemble known shorthand as “The JHP” is offering a fresh and distinctly soulful take on the jazz idiom, appealing to both traditional and contemporary audiences alike.
“The JHP offers a splendid slice of straight ahead jazz delivered with a fresh new sound.”
-Ed Blanco, All About Jazz
“Indeed, The JHP puts value on heavy horn arrangements and high-caliber musicianship, and it shows.”
“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.”
-Mark Weber, Mark Weber Music Blog
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From Julian’s Independent Music Awards Spotlight:
“The JHP is a multi-purpose vehicle/testing ground/ongoing workshop for my original songs, compositions and arrangements…combining all kinds of various sounds and front-line configurations…taking the sound I’m hearing in my head and writing on paper to the stage, to be translated in real-time by flesh-and-blood live musicians, who usually also happen to be my friends…”
“…jazz is a wide umbrella w/ as many interpretations as musicians. So to narrow it down I like to use the term nouveau jazz, or groove jazz, to describe what I do, because I just use the jazz tradition, technique, and instrumentation as a springboard for incorporating the ethos of funk, soul, hip-hop, rock and more into a unique and memorable sound.”
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