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 Julian Bliss?????
Author: William 
Date:   2018-03-03 22:27

I was just at our local music store and noticed a pro level "Julian Bliss" model clarinet for sale. It occurred to me, I have not heard of him for quite some time....what's the latest on him? Was he perhaps a casualty of the Selmer take over of Leblanc who cancelled most of their great clarinet products, thus depriving him of the advertising "spotliight?

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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2018-03-04 00:54

Currently touring the US with his septet...

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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-04 02:15

Here's his March, 2018 through April, 2019 schedule:


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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-03-04 06:46

Also still making promotional appearances. He was at one of our local high school a few weeks ago during the day, just as he was three or four years ago at another school in the area.

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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: DougR 
Date:   2018-03-04 18:36

Going by his website, which is current through this past January, he's pretty busy with tours and whatnot--with his septet and as a guest artist; the website also mentions in mid-2017 he became a clarinet development/marketing manager for Conn-Selmer (who knows the status of that, given the recent sale).

I can review the septet as of a couple of years ago (it started out as a 'Bliss celebrates Benny Goodman' venture but according to the website its repertoire has expanded, but still I guess fundamentally jazz-based).

It was a rhythm section plus vibes, guitar and trumpet; again, mostly Goodman/Charlie Christian/Lionel Hampton stuff, with the obligatory Sing, Sing, Sing number, plus some patter between numbers with Bliss talking about Benny, how he transitioned from classical to jazz, and a few short but dazzling classical partitas.

It was one of his initial concerts with the group and he was obviously still settling into the "Benny Goodman tribute" concept of the tour--he seemed nervous, a bit hesitant at times, his solos seemed a little premeditated (but with a gorgeous sound and fluency). Of the group, the vibes player was an absolute standout, played with fire and swung like crazy; I'd go to see the group if only to see him.

Bliss was incredibly self-effacing throughout his patter; he knew he wasn't yet in his element with the concept of the tour, and was very appreciative and respectful of the musicians he shared the stage with.

For all that the venture felt a bit like a shakedown cruise, I imagine by now he must be very comfortable in the idiom and the performance situation, and the group's been playing together for a couple of years--it ought to be a great ensemble, and a great listening experience, by now.

(Just before the lights dimmed, a large shadowy figure carrying a Rossi clarinet case slipped into the row ahead of me: Paquito D'Rivera. I had the thought: Don't let Paquito onstage, he'll eat this kid alive! But no, he was there just to listen; apparently he knew Bliss from ... well, who knows, from wherever A-list clarinet players hang out between concerts?)

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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: saxlite 
Date:   2018-03-06 05:12

Julian is alive and very well, thank you. I saw him at the Conn-Selmer stand at the NAMM show in Anaheim in late January. He said he was in development of a brand new clarinet, but didn't say much more about it. He is a very self-effacing, decent guy, very easy to talk to. I wasn't able to hear him play this time, but in years past, he dazzled me at a distance of about two feet. Really nice guy, can't wait to see what he comes up with.


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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: claaaaaarinet!!!! 
Date:   2018-03-07 08:23

He headlined concerto night at ICA in Orlando last summer (Nielsen) and sounded great. Also seems to be recording quite a bit. I love his recording of David Bruce's "Gumboots." He even chimed in on this bboard a few months back on the business implications of Selmer Paris changing hands.

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 Re: Julian Bliss?????
Author: MSK 
Date:   2018-03-08 02:45

He visited our local music store about a year ago. The visit was partly educational / motivational speaker for local teenage music students and partly promotional. He had a prototype clarinet with him that he used for part of his performance. I vaguely remember it as either an intermediate or entry level pro model, but wasn't shopping for a new instrument so have forgotten.

Incidentally, Bliss really connected with the teenage students - including students of other instruments. I highly recommend the experience if given the opportunity. I took my 15 year old clarinet student son to this event and a Richard Stoltzman chamber concert the same month. My son was deeply engaged with Bliss and bored senseless at the chamber concert.

Post Edited (2018-03-08 02:56)

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