Julian Joseph: Joining Jazz and Baseball
The plan is now for Shadowball to be performed in schools across Britain, possibly as part of the National Curriculum. Joseph explains the detailed plan: "It should go out to 20 more schools in London. The pupils will also form a London League of baseball. Then it should go to around 200 more schools across England and lead to a national league. That's the big talk about it and I hope it comes off in that way. It's a wonderful way to teach children, bringing several things together in one piece of art."
Any plans for recording, or developing the work for further performance? "Yes, certainly. There is talk about developing it perhaps for the West End, because there is so much more of the story to get deeper into. There's talk of making a film version. And I'll take the material and perform it in a trio, quintet or big band format."
Meanwhile, Joseph is already moving on to his next set of projects, which have more of an emphasiz on performance: "I'm getting ready to write another operayou've just got to keep doing it" Joseph says, laughing. This time, the opera delves into myth and legend: "It's based on Arthurian legendmy own version of Tristan and Isolde.... Most famously, the story has been told by Wagner: but it's actually from Cornwall, in the south-west of England. So I'm going to bring it homewith some jazz. Mike Phillips and I are just talking about it at the moment but I'll get into it within the next few months. I'm also working with my big band, hoping to get out and do a few more gigs. Also, there's some more stuff with the Trio and I'm half way through a Cuban album. I've recorded five tracks in Cuba, with some of the Buena Vista Social Club guys and I need to finish that off. I'm also working on a project with some great players from Senegal."
Joseph pauses, but not because the list has ended. There's more to tell: "I'm touring with my good friends Viktoria Mullova and Matthew Barley. I have a duo with Matthew, piano and cello. Viktoria has a group including Matthew, myself, Paul Clarvis on percussion and another great percussionist called Sam Waltonwe play all sorts of music from Weather Report to gypsy folk to standards. We're working on an album called The Peasant Girl. Is that enough? And of course my work on Radio 3 continues. I really enjoy working with Radio 3 because they are so into music. We're just working on more interviews with great artists, talking about new recordings, trying to bring lots of talented British jazz musicians to the radio to get them heard."
Joseph is clearly a man who is happy in his work, and such is his talent and adaptability there is every indication that his opportunities will continue for many years yet. Who knows, in years to come Joseph may be remembered as The Man Who Brought Baseball To Britain: for now, jazz should be happy to have Joseph in its midst as a talented and tireless promoter of the music.
Matthew Barley/Julian Joseph, Dance Of The Three Legged ElephantsConversations And Improvisations (Signum Classics, 2009)
Billy Cobham, The Art Of Five (In and Out Records, 2004)
Viktoria Mullova, Through The Looking Glass (Philips, 2000)
Julian Joseph, Universal traveler (East West, 1996)
Julian Joseph, Live At The Wigmore Hall (East West, 1995)
Julian Joseph, Reality (East West, 1994)
Cleveland Watkiss, Blessing In Disguise (Polydor, 1991)
Julian Joseph, The Language Of Truth (East West, 1991)
Page 1: Andreas Neumann
Page 2: Courtesy of James Joseph Music Management
Pages 3, 4: Clive Barda