Julian Nalli

This week’s featured artist is saxophonist Julian Nalli, who participated in the Jazzology program in 2010.

Originally from Langley, BC, Julian completed his Bachelor of Music degree at Humber College in 2011.  While at Humber, Julian studied with Pat LaBarbera, Kirk Macdonald, and Mark Promane, and had the opportunity to play with numerous renowned guest artists including Terence Blanchard, John Clayton, and Dave Holland.

Now a freelance musician based in Toronto, Julian plays everything from heavy rock to children’s music with Fred Penner. He performs with numerous groups including FAF, After Funk, Tommy Youngsteen, Graham Playford and the Flying J’s, Electric Blonde, and the Yonge Kings. Julian also maintains a busy private teaching studio and is currently accepting new students.

Julian took some time to answer some questions about his Jazzology experience and tell us about his more recent musical activities:

1) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?

The highlight for me was being able to share my original music on the radio, as well as some of my favourite artists. It was also great working with Brad Barker. He had a very relaxed way of going about the interview, which definitely helped with nerves.

2) What is your strongest memory of the Jazzology program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?

Brad was listing off names of great sax players and asking my opinion of them… Paul Desmond, John Coltrane etc. As a bit of a jazz snob at the time, I remember saying David Sanborn’s playing was pretty cheesy. I probably wasn’t fooling anyone – he’s one of my favourites. I’m still kicking myself for that. Sorry, David.

3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?

Of course! It’s a great way to showcase yourself and your music, though it’s worth doing just for the experience.

4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?

It helped me to try to look at myself from an outsider’s perspective, which I found to be very valuable.

5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?

It’s really great to see the amount of support there is for young musicians. I am very lucky to have been helped along the way by many generous donors who feel the same way.

6) Why is music education important?

Above all else, I believe the best part about the education I received was simply being involved with a community of like-minded people. It fostered great development both musically and personally. Beyond my education at Humber, the community still exists and we are all still learning a lot.

7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?

I take every opportunity I can get to play, and overall it has been great! I’m finding that my practicing is generally more directed to the next gig coming up. Recently I’ve been working on trying to sound like Clarence Clemons when covering Bruce Springsteen songs. I think I might have it figured out within another lifetime or so.

8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?

I have to say that lately I’ve been very inspired by my peers. KC Roberts’ Parkdale Funk 2, And the Kids’ Turn to Each Other, and Eli Bennett’s Breakthrough, to name a few.

9) What are your plans for the future?

Having been performing in a real variety of styles and venues over the past few years, I do miss writing and playing my own material. I hope to pick up where I left off with my original material within the year and lay down some new tracks.

10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?

Everything can be found on my newly launched website, check it out!


11) Is there anything else that you want to add?

Thanks for reconnecting! Now to make some music…