Print Shortlink

Fernandez, Julio (29 August 1954-Present)

Guitarist from Havana, Cuba, whose family emigrated to the United States in 1961 and put down stakes in Hoboken, New Jersey.  When he was nine years old, he picked up a guitar and cut his chops on big band and jazz.  Then he saw The Fab Four on Ed Sullivan’s television program, and it was a life-changing moment.  Rock and roll, he decided, was where it was at.  Unfortunately, rock and roll was not offered in high school.  Neither was guitar.  Julio, who had heard the call of music, longed to be a part of the school band and conformed by deciding on the tuba.

In college, he continued his music studies, but by his sophomore year he had had enough and left school to pursue music on a professional basis.  He did attend a few workshops that afforded him the opportunity to hone his jazz skills, and he took a class in songwriting with publisher and tunesmith, Lou Stallman.  This opened up some networking avenues to him, and he was eventually introduced to Spyro Gyra’s percussionist, Gerardo Velez.  The two of them became fast friends and worked together on a variety of musical projects.  It was only fitting that when the band was in the market for a guitar player, it was Julio who had the inside track.  He aced the audition and has been playing with them, off and on, ever since.  His first album with them was 1985’s Alternating Currents and he has appeared on most of their recordings including 2009’s Down the Wire.

Other albums on which he can be heard include Pozytywne Wibracje 2 – Brand New Acid Jazz Collection, Smooth Jazz Café 2, and Sound & Vision SACD Sampler.

In has also performed with another jazz outfit, Cat Lingo.  As recently as 2006, they entertained at the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival.  In 2008, Julio reunited with his old partner-in-crime, Gerardo Velez, for a few live sets at Shades of Hoboken.