Solo Marimba- & Vibraphone-compositions with World Music/Jazz Ensembles - new and traditional sounds, witty, diverse, unusual. Julie Spencer, virtuoso percussionist with spezialisation on the marimba, is an original. Her improvisations and compositions embody a pan-national sound spectrum.
Soulful music of recognizable character: soft, warm, flowing, round, melodious.
Compositions for solo marimba, vibraphon and Worldmusic/Jazz Ensembles
“Julie Spencer’s Ask is an amazing debut. Spencer, an instructor at the progressive California Institute of the Arts (1990-1994) and armed with a prestigious Performer’s Certificate from Eastman, is a virtuoso mallet player specializing in marimba. More significantly, she is an original. And while there are echoes of Gary Burton’s groundbreaking work on ECM, Spencer’s inspired improvisations and compositions embody a pan-national spectrum reflecting her studies of tabla and Ghanaian drumming as well as more traditional forms of jazz and classical elements.
A master of four-mallet techniques, Spencer’s music obtains a uniqueness based on her use of unusual intervallic leaps and displaced yet supple (and swinging) rhythms. The nuanced complexities of “After the Storm,” for instance, emerge as deceptively simple because of the piece’s luxuriant flow. Most tracks are for solo marimba, although “Gomer in the Desert” is exoticized with Spencer’s adroit use of gong and bowed marimba (yes, bowed marimba).
On the helical “Infinity” Spencer is joined by percussionist John Bergamo and bamboo flutist Gernot Blume in an impressive free-form collaboration. From start to finish it’s Spencer’s show and an “announcement” of a major new voice who, while dancing at the edge, displays true brilliance of mind, spirit, and soul. Jazz Times, 1993
“Captivating solo and ensemble works by one of the world’s most accomplished and soulful marimba and vibraphone players. Julie’s breathless technique, lyrical compositions and dazzling improvisations appeal to a diversity of musical tastes.” Interworld Music, 1993
“ Not only will the listener find Spencer’s compositional abilities outstanding, but her technical facility and musical expression on vibraphone and marimba are equally as riveting.” Lisa Rogers, Percussive Notes, June 1994