swingin' sax & vocalist

For the past twenty years with three albums as a leader, several studio projects as a side man,
andcountless worldwide performances, saxophonist, vocalist and composer Juli Wood has
established herself as a solid , swinging, lyrical and entertaining performer on Chicago’s music
scene. Juli has played many jazz clubs and festivals nationally and internationally; Chicago
Jazz Fest, Hyde Park Jazz Fest, Milwaukee’s Summeriest, Chicago’s main jazz clubs – Jazz
Showcase, Green Mill, Andy’s and Katerina’s. Skansen Jazz and Blues (Stockholm , Sweden),
Pori Jazz Fest (Finland), Bent J’s club (Aarhus, Denmark), Storyville (Helsinki Finland),
Arlandia Jazz Fest (Aaland Islands, Finland) to name a few. Juli is in the tradition of
saxophonists who were also great vocalists; Cleanhead Vincent, Eddie Harris, and Louis
Jordan. Never has that been more apparent than in “5 4 3 2 1 Juli Wood,” her latest recording
and most ambitious project to date.
One of the pleasures of attending the Chicago Jazz Festival over Labor Day weekend
each year is being able to hear the bevy of local players who make up the windy city
jazz scene. Last year’s treat was Juli Wood, a gutsy tenor and baritone saxophonist who
also sings with the earthy gusto of an R&B diva filtered through a hard bop sensibility.
Bill Milkowski – JAZZTIMES Juli’s love for the saxophone goes way back. “I remember watching
SOUL TRAIN as a kid on T.V. in the 70’s and seeing Maceo Parker playing alto sax with James
Brown. I thought that was the coolest looking and sounding instrument in the world! So the love
affair with the saxophone started in the sixth grade and has been going strong ever since.”
“I studied jazz music at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with David Hazeltine and Berkley
Fudge. I’ve been so fortunate to be mentored by wonderful jazz artists. I played a lot in
Milwaukee and Chicago with Melvin Rhyne, a great bebop organist who began his career in
Indianapolis with the Wes Montgomery trio.
Mel and I recorded a CD with a quintet that also played at the 1998 Chicago Jazz Fest. That
CD, Movin’ and Groovin’, the Juli Wood Quintet featuring Mel Rhyne is available at CD Baby,
iTunes and Amazon. “When I moved to Chicago in 1996 , I hooked up with two of the great
veteran jazz pianists there; Earma Thompson and Jodie Christian. Both Earma and Jodie
played many gigs
with the great saxophonist, Eddie Harris. I learned a lot from both of them especially how to
play swinging tunes!” Juli’s quartet recording featuring Earma Thompson – piano, Dennis
Carroll – bass and Mike Schlick – drums.” Blues for Earma Jean is available at CD Baby,
iTunes and Amazon.
“My latest recording 5 4 3 2 1 Juli Wood features my latest quintet incarnation. My horn section
buddies from the gospel band at Christ Universal Temple, Larry Bowen – trumpet
and Steve Berry – trombone are both accomplished jazz musicians. The rhythm section is the
wonderful Pete Benson – organ and swinging Todd Howell – drums.
The smaller group tunes feature Dan Delorenzo – bass and Mike Schlick – drums. The
concept for this CD came from a Benny Golson recording called “Pick a number from 1 to 10.”
Benny plays solo, duo, trio, quartet etc… each song adding another player. I decided to go the
other way and start with five players then start subtracting. Actually the quartet
tunes are me overdubbing either a tenor or bari sax part on the melodies. It was a lot of fun to
record and I think we captured some great arrangements and performances. 5 4 3
2 1 Juli Wood is available at CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon.
Currently Juli is working on a recording of Finnish folk songs. “My grandparents all came from
Finland to the USA in the early 1900’s. I grew up hearing the music and my parents
taught me a little of the Finnish language. I was on my yearly trip to Finland last summer to
play a few festivals and clubs, and was listening to Art Farmer’s recording of Swedish
folk songs called “To Sweden with love.” It hit me then that I should make a CD of the simple
and hauntingly beautiful Finnish folk songs , instrumentally and in a jazz style.
It will be done in early 2015 and features Alejandro Urzagaste – guitar, Clark Sommers – bass
and Mike Schlick – drums. The working title is “Synkissä Metsissä.” (In the Deep

Finland is mostly forests and lakes. It’s a magical place dear to my heart!”
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