Julian began his career as a musician at the age of fourteen touring throughout Europe with the European Community Big Band. Quickly he gained recognition as an original musician and joined the much acclaimed 21 piece UK big band “Loose Tubes”. He stayed with them for four years and recorded two albums.
Since their demise Julian has collaborated with fellow Tubes member Django Bates who appears on Julian’s albums “Skull view” on Babel and “Escapade” – on Provocateur Records. In 1986 Julian was awarded the prestigious Pat Smythe award and has also been awarded several BBC awards.
His main interest continues to be writing and performing with his own band. In 1990 the Julian Argüelles Quartet, with pianist John Taylor recorded their first CD “Phaedrus”.
The second CD “Home Truths” was released in 1995 with Mike Walker on guitar, Martin France on drums and Steve Swallow on electric bass.
This was followed by a project with his brother Steve Argüelles, entitled “Scapes” which was released in 1996.
The BBC commissioned Argüelles to write 60 minutes of music for a new band to be premiered at the 1996 Bath Festival, the Octet was formed and the music became his fourth album “Skull View” which was voted Jazz CD of the Year 1997 by the Independent on Sunday. His previous two albums (Scapes & Home Truths) had been voted Jazz CD of the Year in both 1995 and 1996.
Julian has worked with musicians drawn from around the world including Archie Shepp, Tim Berne, Hermeto Pascoal, Steve Swallow, John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Peter Erskine, Chris McGregor, John Schofield and Carla Bley. Julian is also a member of several big bands including The Kenny Wheeler Big Band, and Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice.
In 1999 Julian released his first album for Provocateur the critically acclaimed “Escapade”. His second, some 5 years later, was the much anticipated “As Above So Below” – a large scale work for jazz and classical musicians featuring the 20 piece Trinity College of Music String Ensemble. The album evolved from a commission that was originally performed in Saint Wendredas Church in March in the Fenlands. The result is an album charged with a wide range of emotional and melodic surprises. His most recent CD ‘Partita” was recorded in New York and features Tom Rainey on drums and Michael Formanek both from New York.
Despite being very busy performing he maintains a commitment to teaching and has been invited to teach at various places such as The Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Glamorgan Jazz School, Edinburgh and Manchester summer schools and music colleges in Den Haag, Lisbon, Porto, Koln, Weimar and Copenhagen. In 1995 Julian was offered the first position of Jazz Musician in Association at the Royal Northern College Of Music and in 2007 he became tutor of Saxophone. The Julian Argüelles Octet is currently the Ensemble in residence at The University Of York.