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
The Julian Gerstin Sextet explores sounds of the Caribbean and Eastern Europe through original, lyrical jazz compositions. Many of the tunes are based on traditional or popular rhythms from Martinique, Cuba, Columbia, Bulgaria or Turkey, in musical settings where the band’s jazz-honed improvisational skills can take wing. Featured are Anna Patton, clarinet (Dunham Shoe Factory, Elixir); Don Anderson, trumpet; Eugene Uman, piano (Sheila Jordan, Sonny Fortune, Bo Diddley); Wes Brown, bass (Earl “Fatha” Hines, Wadada Leo Smith, Fred Ho); Ben James, drums (John Tchicai, Olatunji); and Julian on percussion. Additional horns provide a “little big band” sound on five numbers, and guests add accordion, fiddle, and Iranian percussion to two additional songs. Featured throughout is Julian’s percussion, including the tanbou bèlè of Martinique, a drum played with both hands and one foot.
This 2018 album celebrates the world’s crossroads cities, where immigrants and long-term residents mingle their traditions and new styles emerge. Today especially, we need to remember that creativity arises not by building walls, but through sharing our worlds. Mazurka from Fort-de-France, mambo and danzón from Havana, lesno and cocek from Sofia, cumbia from Bogota, tsamikos from Athens, and Latin grooves from the streets of San Francisco, are all spoken here.
“Full of joy and high-energy talent … the driving forces of the universe are quite
Dick Metcalf, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
“Uproarious and jubilant … sweet and strong like sugarcane”
Dee Dee McNeil, musicalmemoirs.com
THE ONE WHO MAKES YOU HAPPY
The Sextet’s first release (2017) consists of original compositions inspired by music of Martinique and Cuba, Turkey and Bulgaria, as well as grooves of Julian’s own invention. With Anna, Don, Eugene, Wes, Ben and Julian.
Songs range from the title ballad, a Bulgarian lesno, to the lively bèlè and danmyé rhythms of Martinique. The jazz rumba “Child Left Behind” is followed by “Apprendiendo Como Amar,” 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).”
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.