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Summer Series: Juniper Djinn Q&A

With echoes of 30s Jazz and beautiful folk melodies, Juniper Djinn brings a sound that leaves listeners lost in a distant time and place. Join us next Thursday (July 27) when this compelling group performs as part of the FREE outdoor Summer Series concert lineup.

We spoke with Jessica Smith about all things Juniper Djinn. Check it out!

Hult Center: What is your connection with the 30s Jazz Era?  When did you discover jazz, and how did it play a role in your life?

Jessica, Juniper Djinn: Surrounding ourselves with older folks and seeking their knowledge is what led us to find the music that we play as Juniper Djinn. Over the last decade we both started learning old traditional jazz standards and played in many bands learning lots of different styles and before we formed Juniper Djinn as our own project. The aim is to keep old music alive.

Hult Center: Who’s your main inspiration? Do you try to incorporate their style?

Juniper Djinn: We are inspired by the past and always try to create an atmosphere of noir nostalgia with a new take. We play songs by many famous writers and artists of the 30s and 40s, and old European Folk tunes too old to know the writer.

Hult Center: What would you say is your favorite song you made and why?

Juniper Djinn: We released our latest album “Some Standards” as an homage to great old crooner tunes that were a little less known. Along with those is a few fun ones that people request live a lot. The album features one original called “La Valse de Moosh” and is one of our favorite songs written about our dog Moosha.

Hult Center: What’s the creative process behind your songs?

Juniper Djinn: When writing and arranging songs we usually play them as basic as we can until one of us gets the spark of idea to do a rhythm change or some sort of part. With originals usually one of us comes up with the melody and the other the chords then creating the landscape for whatever it turns into.

Hult Center: How do you personally prepare for going live?

Juniper Djinn: When creating Juniper Djinn we wanted to be able to be a simple sweet jazz duo to an eight to ten piece swinging jazz band depending on the show. We regularly feature musician friends from all over the continent at live shows. Recently we started playing in another project (The Barn Swallows) with Aurelia Anne Cohen and May Edington. As that group developed we also started incorporating them into the music we were already playing. So we have created a musical twin of sorts featuring all the same people in both bands but playing a different arrangement of music and instruments. While Juniper Djinn keeps old sounds of the past alive The Barn Swallows bring all original three part harmony folk songs with the influence of all the music from the past.

Be sure to catch Juniper Djinn at their FREE Summer Series performance at the Hult Center on Thursday, July 27.


Our FREE Summer Series concerts takes place outside in the Hult Plaza near the 7th Street entrance. Come on down!

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