Julius Hemphill - alto and soprano saxophone (1928 - 1995)
For over thirty-five years Julius Hemphill earned a reputation as one who broke down boundaries and defied labels. A prodigious composer who wrote luscious and shimmering sonorities with the ever-present tang of the blues, Hemphill was as comfortable writing for full orchestra as he was for his Sextet or Big Band. He composed for theater and multi-media productions and worked with some of this generation’s most acclaimed writers and choreographers who sought his unifying consciousness for collaborative projects. An improviser of immense talent and saxophonist who could coax the best out of any musical unit, Hemphill performed in almost every major jazz festival and hall in North America and Europe, including the Berlin, Montreal, Kool, Rome, Paris, Den Haag (North Sea), and Warsaw festivals.
Born in 1938, Julius Hemphill divided his attention between music and sports while growing up in the fertile musical environment of Fort Worth, Texas