Julian Gerstin Sextet - The One Who Makes You Happy,
There aren’t many percussionists or drummers who have led bands, no matter what musical style, yet here we have Julian Gerstin, who plays the tanbou bèlè drum of Martinique, along with congas, tupan and percussion, yet writes all the music. He says that he is inspired by melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean and Balkans, two quite diverse areas, and the album features him and his band playing different instrumentals. Those tracks were recorded over two days in March, and then there is Cuban-inspired vocal track, “Apprendiendo Como Amar” which was recorded with four Cuban musicians and singers in April. This is a totally percussive track with vocals, which in some ways is quite at odds with the rest of the album, while also fitting in well. It seems almost African in many ways, direct and almost primeval, which is a great contrast to the polish and laid-back nature of the other material.
Overall, this is interesting in the way that it brings together different styles, and something I definitely enjoyed playing.