Raised by a jazz pianist Julian’s childhood was an immersive education in music of many Western genres. His early musical influences included progressive rock artists like Yes, jazz fusionists like Return to Forever, and funk artists like Bootsy Collins.
As a teenager, Julian fell in love with percussion – studying the music of artists like Carlos Santana, Babatunde Olatunji, and Peter Gabriel. It wasn’t long before he started looking for ways to integrate the rhythmic concepts present in African and AfroCuban music with the more linearly complex ideas present in his early influences.
In his twenties, Julian co-founded the avant garde world percussion ensemble Rhythm Quest. During this time Julian extended his studies of rhythm to include the Middle East, India, and various other traditions. He began developing his compositional skills exploring advanced rhythmic concepts within the context of composition and arrangement for performance as a quartet and various collaborative projects. These included a performance with Blue Note recording artist Greg Osby, World A Capella Vocal ensemble, Vida, modern dance performances, and in a more accompaniment framework for musicians such as Turkish Sufi musician Latif Bolat. During this time, Julian also taught workshops and performed throughout the northeastern and mid-western United States. Rhythm Quest’s debut CD Excursion earned a 4-star review from “Modern Drummer” magazine.
Rhythm Quest disbanded in the late 90s and Julian pursued a more solitary exploration of large ensemble percussion composition, with a focus on integrating advanced rhythmic material with an inclusive aesthetic. In 2006 Julian took an interest in music production and produced an album in collaboration with singer/songwriter Charles Gibson and early/world music vocalist Stephanie Heidemann. Shortly after, he began performing with Sufi, Alternative Rock group HuDost. In 2008, a collaborative piece with Stephanie Heidemann was featured on NPR’s daily web version of All Songs Considered. Julian spent several years focusing on recording and production culminating in the solo collaboration project Talafawa which is a further exploration of world fusion and music production. He returned to a focus on performance after 2011 with exploration of improvisational music combining electronic elements with live percussion in House Veritas, and contemporary world music arrangements and performance of early music in The Resonance Project. Julian reformed Rhythm Quest in 2016 with one of the other original members and is exploring the pure joy of composition and performance of progressive contemporary world percussion music Julian lives in Sarasota, FL with his wife and vocalist Stephanie Heidemann, and son Gabriel River.