Julien Wilson is one of the most gifted and individual saxophonists in the Australian jazz scene. He is the recipient of the 2008 Jazz Artist of the Year, 2006 Freedman Fellowship and the 1994 National Jazz Award, and has performed and recorded with artists including Mike Nock, Hugh Masekala, Jim Black, Bob Moses, Mark Helias, Kurt Elling Quartet and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
His trio has been invited to perform at many Australian and International Festivals, including The Berlin Jazz Festival, New Zealand International Jazz Festival & Jakarta JAVA Jazz Festival.
'In fact, it was Wilson who provided what may have been the highlight of the Festival when he performed with his Trio in the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The sheer majestic quality of this band’s music is astounding, and, in the vast surroundings of the Cathedral, Wilson’s soaring tenor took on a spiritual quality, reaching all the way back to Coltrane. With an unlikely instrumentation of guitar, accordion and saxophone, the Trio gently added subtle textures to the mix, creating a music that seemed to be full of air and light. Stephen Grant’s accordion floated dreamlike through the space, while Stephen Magnusson’s guitar pierced the veil, intelligent and thoughtful. Solos were few and far between, but when Wilson did set off, his tenor soared to the upper reaches of the Cathedral, filling the church to overflowing. It was a remarkable performance, full of such intimacy and telepathic communion.'
Live review of the 2007 Wangaratta Jazz Festival - Rhythms Magazine : December 2007
'This is dreamy music for dreamy people. Over the past three years the music of saxophonist Julien Wilson, guitarist Stephen Magnusson and accordionist Stephen Grant has become dreamier as it has evolved. They also play more softly, the role-playing between the instruments is more egalitarian and they are more inclined to luxuriate in rubato passages, as with Magnusson's introductions to Song For Jay and (briefly) Clube da Esquina #2 and the whole band's rendering of the gorgeous Rebellious Bird. The softness means the nylon-string guitar does not need to be amplified way out of its natural dynamic range and even allows Wilson to set up the rhythm of Blessed just by popping the keys on his tenor like a percussion instrument. It also means that the music is less a matter of saxophone solos with accompaniment and more a constant intricate interaction capped by that magnificent tenor.'
CD review - Sydney Morning Herald : December 28th 2007
'This album, recorded live at Bennetts Lane in Melbourne, reveals the uncanny rapport shared by Julien Wilson (tenor sax), Stephen Magnusson (acoustic guitar) and Stephen Grant (piano accordion). They play as if with one mind. Listen to the opening track (‘Clube Da Esquina #2’ by Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento), and the originals that follow: the three seem to breathe and sigh through their instruments in unison. (Yes, even the guitarist, especially when he employs some discreet electronic effects to sustain his notes). Wilson is at his most lyrical and eloquent, while Grant and Magnusson are equally brilliant.'
CD Review - ABC Limelight Magazine : March 2008
'THE second album from award-winning Melbourne saxophonist Julien Wilson’s trio was recorded at the city’s Bennetts Lane during a broadcast in 2007 commemorating the 30th anniversary of ABC Classic FM’s Jazztrack. Luscious, warm sounds are produced by the gracefully integrated instrumentation of Wilson’s tenor sax, Stephen Magnusson’s guitar and Stephen Grant’s piano accordion. Three of the five pieces are Wilson originals, including Rebellious Bird, a soul-drenched theme incorporating plaintive cries from the tenor. Guitar provides a murmuring undercurrent and accordion moves with the sax’s melody line before receding into a poignant matrix. These three players merge beautifully, both in musical ideas and with a nuanced tonality, assisted greatly by Magnusson’s use of nylon strings. Clube da Esquina opens with guitar and accordion establishing a relaxed Latin beat; then, when the tenor first joins in, it is almost indistinguishable, so closely do the three instruments blend. This CD is unusually moving, restrained yet authoritative and at times quite magical.'
CD Review - The Australian : 24th May 2008