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Julian Gerstin is a percussionist and composer specializing in the music of Martinique, Cuba and Ghana, along with jazz. Since moving to Brattleboro in 2006, Julian has led and accompanied numerous local groups. His original music for the Julian Gerstin Sextet combines Martinican and Balkan rhythms and percussion instruments with contemporary jazz. His love for Cuban traditional music is expressed in the dance/music ensemble Iroko Nuevo, and he gets his salsa kicks with Son de la Calle. (Links to these groups are on www.juliangerstin.com.) Julian has worked in “legit” music locally with the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, Brattleboro Community Choir, River Singers and Windham Orchestra.
Julian’s CD recordings at Artrageus include “Strange but True” with the As Yet Quintet, an all-star local group featuring Anna Patton on clarinet, Miamon Miller violin, Eugene Uman piano, Todd Roach on Middle Eastern percussion, and Julian. Original compositions by all five band members range from the sweetly textured “Middle-Aged Beauty,” to the lively Columbian-flavored “Isla Luna,” to a slinky mix of blues and Balkan modalism in “Copa Kabanica.”
A college teacher for over 25 years at Wesleyan, Marlboro, Clark, and Keene State, Julian is now at the Vermont Jazz Center, where he leads a percussion class and co-teaches the Latin Jazz Ensemble (with Eugene Uman). His love of teaching led to the publication of The Musician’s Guide to Rhythm, also featured at Artrageus, co-authored with long-time friend Ken Dalluge. The Guide (www.musiciansguidetorhythm.com) is both an introduction to rhythmic concepts, and a practical workbook for building rhythmic skills and creativity. It is written for musicians on all instruments (not just drums!).
Julian has studied music in Cuba, Ghana, and especially Martinique, where he lived for two years, researching and performing traditional bèlè music. This work led to a PhD and numerous academic publications. In addition to teaching and performing, Julian is President of the Vermont Jazz Center’s Board of Directors and active in the Society for Ethnomusicology, Jazz Educators Network, and Conchologists of America.