The Julian Hartwell Project had me hooked upon first hearing their song, “Street Dreams.” It’s a fresh take on jazz music, that somehow manages to sound like something old school AND brand new at the same time. Credit the band’s homebase– Philadelphia. Consisting of many of Philly’s up-and-coming players– many out of Temple U’s jazz studies program, The Julian Hartwell Project has got the skills to make a viable career playing and touring with their unique brand of funky jazz music.
At the heart of the sound is Julian Hartwell, who would describe himself as “Alabama-born, Philly-molded.” He’s going for a “high-energy, funky, soulful, swinging, cinematic, evocative sound” and succeeds. This is feel good music that doesn’t get too unapproachable like so many jazz groups get. Hartwell will tell you he and his bandmates are making jazz music that appeals not only to the head, but to the heart as well. That’s a good thing– a very good thing.
The band’s original compositions are multi-layered and complex, with a variety of instruments getting their chance in the spotlight, including some fun piano work on “Say No More” and nifty trumpet playing on songs like “Stay Easy Bro.”
Indeed, The Julian Hartwell Project puts value on heavy horn arrangements and high-caliber musicianship, and it shows.
Give a listen to Julian Hartwell here:
Playing piano since he was 12-years-old, Julian Hartwell has grown up to become a sought-after pianist, composer, bandleader and educator.
Having graduated as a jazz performance major from Temple University in 2014, Hartwell is focused on his band right now, gigging around Philadelphia at places like Chris’ Jazz Café in Center City. He also teaches piano lessons, infusing them with both improvisation and fun.