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Julia Keefe / Native American Big Band Project (final title TBD)

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant Recipient

Julia Keefe

Recipient Information


Spokane, Washington

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant

Grant Amount


About the Project

Creating new music for all-indigenous big band, the Native American Big Band, Keefe will involve tribal leaders in the region and connect communities with a link to the rich history of Native Americans in Jazz. The debut performance will take place at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts and include professional videography.

Residency location 

Olympia, WA

About the Artist

Julia Keefe, enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe, is a nationally acclaimed jazz vocalist, actress, and educator. She grew up on the Nez Perce Indian reservation and graduated from Manhattan School of Music's Master in Music Jazz Vocals program in 2019 and the University of Miami's Frost School of Music in 2012. Her personal accolades include headlining marquee events at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. and N.Y.C, in addition to opening for the likes of 20-time GRAMMY Award recipient Tony Bennett, as well as the 4-time GRAMMY Award winner Esperanza Spalding. She served on the faculty of Gonzaga University and the Manhattan School of Music and has performed and adjudicated as guest clinician at the renowned Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Her life's work is the revival and honoring of legendary Coeur d'Alene jazz musician Mildred Bailey and is the leader of the campaign to induct her into the Jazz Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center. In 2009, she premiered her Mildred Bailey tribute show with the Jarrol Pennerman Octet titled, ""Thoroughly Modern: Mildred Bailey Songs,"" for Jazz Appreciation Month at the National Museum of the American Indian. Julia has been featured in Indian Country Today, the Associated Press, on NPR, and Judy Carmichael's Jazz Inspired for her dedication to Mildred Bailey's legacy. She regularly appears at top venues around the United States such as Lincoln Center (Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola), Rockwood Music Hall and the Smithsonian National Museum.