Original jazz compositions by Julian, inspired by melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean and Balkans. Many of these compositions feature the tanbou bèlè drum of Martinique, a rarely heard instrument with a sound that sweeps between delicate and thunderous. I’m proud to play these songs with some of the area’s finest jazz musicians: Eugene Uman piano, Anna Patton clarinet, Don Anderson trumpet or Jon Weeks saxophones & flute, Wes Brown bass, Ben James drumset.
The Sextet released its first CD, “The One Who Makes You Happy,” in June 2017. Eleven songs range from Martinican bèlè in the bluesy “Dig It Deeper” to a fast Bulgarian kopanitsa in 11/8, “I Remember It Differently,” to the title ballad, a Bulgarian lesno (“slow song”). “Child Left Behind” is jazz built on a lively Cuban rumba guaguancó and is followed by “Apprendiendo Como Amar,” a folkloric guaguancó for which I wrote the lyrics, performed by myself and four of the SF Bay Area’s finest Cuban drummers and singers.
“For more than 40 years, the Vermont-based percussionist and composer has studied and performed music from Africa to the Caribbean, from the Americas to the Balkans, and collected an array of instruments along the way. His global sensibilities are on full display on The One Who Makes You Happy, his self-released recording with his sextet. Infusing jazz composition and instrumentation with his worldly orientation and rhythmic arsenal, Gerstin teases out African and caribbean elements [as well as] Eastern European analogs … Intoxicating … Joyful.”
“Percussionist Julian has roved about the globe working with musicians from many countries, and for this adventure, he’s got a stellar cast of players as well … This is definitely the kind of high-energy jazz we seek out here… Any listener, no matter their “jazz background”, will find this very enjoyable and danceable, by the way … MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”
“Far-ranging, wildly inventive, with more beats per minute than a street-side jackhammer … This has to be in the conversation for world album of the year.”
“The percussionist mixes Africa with the steppes with some good old jazz and the combination is mesmerizing.”
“The shape-shifting music can beguile even the most canny listener … Just the right mix of fire and water (lilting lullaby mixed in with a rebel yell, that is).”
Polar Bear Meltdown
I Remember It Differently
The One Who Makes You Happy
Kalman Ka Mode
Child Left Behind
Apprendiendo Como Amar
The King Dreams of Flying
Dig It Deeper
Love That Stumbles Across the Earth in Ecstasy
Hot Latin jazz for cold winter nights! Trio Mambo brings you the classic Latin trio of piano, bass and congas, grooving and rococo at the same time. Classics like “Mambo Influenciado” and “Come Candela” mingle with brash originals such as “Hunting Quayle With the Dick [Cheney]” and “Soukwé soukwé” (“Shake it, shake it!”), as well as gentler ballads and boleros. The trio features three veterans of New England jazz: Dan DeWalt on piano, Wes Brown on bass and Julian Gerstin on percussion.
Before Trio Mambo, the three bandmates had worked together for many years in various combinations, notably as the rhythm section of Cuban singer/percussionist William Rodriguez’ De Lomas y Sones. Their kindred spirits and delight in each other’s musicality led to the formation of Trio Mambo, and make their performances both lively and intimate.
Pianist/trombonist Dan DeWalt has led the jazz group Green Mountain Mambo, is a founding member of the beloved world beat ensemble Simba, and is a trombonist with Latin big band Joe Velez y Creación and the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band. Dan’s live, original piano accompaniments for Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” and other classic silent films have become must-see events in southern Vermont.
Bassist Wes Brown cut his professional teeth at age eighteen with two years on the road with legendary pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines. Wes went on to study music at Wesleyan College and to perform and record with Wadada Leo Smith, Fred Ho’s Afro-Asian Ensemble. He is an original member of royal hartigan’s Blood Drum Spirit, and performs with Matan Rubenstein and many other jazz artists. Wes has taught bass in several New England colleges.
Percussionist Julian Gerstin specializes in African and Caribbean traditions and popular styles, as well as jazz. His credits include stints with experimental jazz composer Joel Harrison, afrobeat legends Orlando Julius and Baba Ken Okulolo, Cuban folkloric ensemble Iroko Nuevo and Puerto Rican folklore ensemble Bomba de Aquí, and Dan’s Green Mountain Mambo. Julian also currently leads his own group, the JG Sextet (Wes is the group’s bassist) and is studying composition at the Vermont Academy of Fine Arts.
Trio Mambo is available for teaching and workshops in high schools, colleges and community venues. Julian’s PhD research in Martinique led to numerous academic publications, and he has enjoyed a long career in both college and community teaching. Wes has taught bass at several New England universities.
Afro-Cuban traditional music and dance, with five dancers plus eight drummers/singers. Iroko Nuevo offers a vibrant stage show, dance and music classes, and workshops and demonstrations for schools, community centers and other occasions. Hear and learn about rumba, batá, bembe, makuta, iyesá, palo, toque de guiro, gaga, comparsa, and son.
Afrobeat, ska and classic funk in this band’s unquenchable repetoire. A tight rhythm
section with ripping horn solos and soulful vocals.
Bomba is part of Puerto Rico’s African heritage, brought “here” (Springfield MA) by
dancer Brendaliz Cepeda-Peñalosa, drummer Saul Peñalosa, and friends. I’m honored
to join this group’s celebration of their heritage. The dancing is joyous, the lyrics moving
and proud, and the drumming powerful.