Julien Kasper has long held the reputation as a "guitarist’s guitarist," a musician who moves seamlessly through rock, jazz, and blues with improvisational spirit, soul, and stunning virtuosity. Reviewing Julien’s 1993 demo Guitar Player magazine raved:
The eclectic [guitarist] suggests that "John Coltrane and Miles Davis have far more in common with Hendrix and Beck than most jazz guitarists." Building his style from that perspective, Kasper displays righteous control, dead-on phrasing, progressive composition, and savvy ears ... This guy is really, really good - somebody give him a record deal quick!
Julien released his debut recording, "Flipping Time", in 2003 to critical praise. Bucking trends of digital editing and excessive production, he recorded the CD live in the studio to analog tape. Not just flaunting his blistering guitar chops, he chose to craft memorable melodies over rootsy grooves, an artistic choice that makes "Flipping Time" a CD that appeals not only to guitar players but to music lovers across a wide demographic spectrum.
The album is full of surprises... shifting styles delivered with Kasper's gorgeous tone and vibrant imagination. --Jay Miller, The Patriot Ledger
Julien and his band, featuring first-call Boston musicians Zac Casher on drums and Blendi Dhami on bass, have toured in the US in support of "Flipping Time" and the buzz is spreading. After seeing the Julien Kasper Band on tour in Florida, Rick Lollar, an accomplished guitarist in his own right, wrote on his weblog:
Julien is the epitome of guitar mastery. He utilizes every aspect of the instrument to its fullest capacity, all the while with endless artistry and tastefulness. The raw power is there, and so is the harmonic complexity that makes music interesting and fresh to the ears. As he himself described it, his music is "coming from below the belt and above the neck." One is unable to stump him with any harmonic or rhythmic situation - he is able to fluidly and authentically play styles that take other, lesser musicians years to perfect.
Tonight, I witnessed a wide range of inflections and influences from across the tonal palette. I heard pieces and parts of Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, BB King, and music from the planet Mars. Simultaneously jarring and beautiful.
A Short History
Many blues and jazz fans in the US and Europe became aware of Julien through his work with virtuoso pianist and Hammond B-3 organist Bruce Katz on extensive tours throughout the US and Europe. He recorded two CDs with the Bruce Katz Band on Audioquest: "Mississippi Moan" and "Three Feet off the Ground." Julien has also recently recorded with Mighty Sam McClain: "Journey" and "Soul Survivor" on Telarc.
Julien was born in France to American parents and spent his youth as an army child moving around the American south. Inspired by Bob Dylan and the Beatles, he took up the guitar at the age of eight and was self-taught until his first jazz lessons at age 18. In his professional life he has lived in Austin and Dallas, Texas as well as Tallahassee and Miami, Florida.
He is now based in Boston, Massachusetts, a city to which he was initially lured by a teaching position in the guitar department at Berklee College of Music. Julien now holds the rank of Associate Professor. His classes consist of curriculum he developed on creative applications of melodic and harmonic materials, advanced blues/rock/jazz guitar techniques, and his perennially popular Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck performance labs. He is a recognized authority on the playing of these two masters.
Julien's latest CD, "The New Imperial" has been released May 2006 by Nugene Records.