JULIAN GERSTIN SEXTET: Original jazz compositions inspired by melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean and Balkans, played by a great sextet. This group features the tanbou bèlè drum of Martinique, with a sound that sweeps between delicate and thunderous. With Eugene Uman piano, Jon Weeks saxophones & flute, Anna Patton clarinet or Steve Sonntag trumpet, Wes Brown bass, Doug Raneri drumset.
IROKO NUEVO: Afrocuban traditional music and more, with five dancers plus eight drummer/singers. A vibrant stage show, dance and music classes, workshops and demonstrations for schools, libraries, and other occasions. Based in Western Massachusetts, Iroko Nuevo is led by dancer Miguel Periche from Holguin, Cuba. Domingo De Jesus and Tony Rivera bring songs and rhythms of their Puerto Rican heritage. Rumba, bembe, makuta, iyesá, palo, toque de guiro, gaga, comparsa, and creative fusions with hip hop and son.
DE LOMAS Y SONES: De Lomas y Sones (Of Hills and Songs) plays Afro-Cuban son, the deeply soulful and influential dance style that is the root of salsa, chacha, and mambo. With congas, bongó, bass, piano, flute, saxophone and vocals, De Lomas y Sones delivers an evening of sizzling Cuban sounds. The band is fronted by William Armando Rodriguez on lead vocals, bongó and timbales, and by female lead vocalist Maricel Lucero. Both William and Maricel are from Santiago de Cuba, the mountainous province where son originated.
AS YET QUINTET: The As Yet Quintet joins five forces in New England music for a creative medley of jazz, Mideastern, and Caribbean sounds. All five musicians contribute to the quintet’s program of entirely original pieces. In As Yet’s music you’ll hear sounds from Latin grooves to Turkish modes, Balkan rhythms played on Cuban wooden boxes, and blues with a touch of Bulgarian choral style. Compositions drawing from many traditions balance with expressive jazz soloing to create an imaginative sound and an unforgettable concert experience.
Anna Patton clarinet • Charlie Schneeweis trumpet • Eugene Uman piano • Todd Roach dumbek, riq, Middle Eastern percussion • Julian Gerstin congas, tanbou bèlè, Latin percussion
I often accompany other groups as well:
• River Singers and Greenfield Harmony: community choruses led by Mary Cay Brass, with repertoire drawn from American shape note singing, gospel, and traditions of Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, the Republic of Georgia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. I’ve also sung in both of these groups.
• Brattleboro Women’s Chorus: community chorus led by Becky Graber. I haven’t sung in this group for obvious reasons, but I’ve composed for it.
• Lil’ Orphans Cajun Express: my washboard gig!
• Buzzards Brass Band. a.k.a. Brattleboro New Orleans Brass Band: marching bass drum
COMPOSITION: Composing has been an increasing part of my musical activities since moving to Vermont in 2006. In addition to songs written for ongoing ensembles— Look Out Brass Band, As Yet Quintet, Alafia, and Green Mountain Mambo—I’ve done several commissioned compositions:
“Wind Carries the Raft,” Craig Sylvern (tenor saxophone) & Chris Swist (marimba) 2011
“The Real Dr. Love Shark,” Keene State College Percussion Ensemble 2011
“Cycle of Leaves,” Western Kentucky University Percussion Ensemble, 1999; Keene State College Percussion Ensemble 2010
“Ochún, Oyá, Yemayá,” Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, 2009