Percussionists in spotlight at Sam’s Sunday Set & Shed

Thursday October 11, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Sam’s Sunday Set & Shed mentor-protege concert series continues Oct. 14 at 4 p.m., at the Elliot Street Café, 134 Elliot St., with a performance by percussionists William Rodriguez and Julian Gerstin.

Gerstin began studying with Rodriguez soon after the Cuban native settled in Brattleboro. Despite already being well-versed in the the rhythms and instrumentation from a multitude of cultures, including playing Cuban music for 30 years, Gerstin said his studies with Rodriguez have challenged and inspired him.

The two percussionists will be joined by Eugene Uman (piano), Wayne Roberts (bass) and Jon Weeks (saxophone) for a one-hour set of original compositions and jazz standards that explore Afro-Cuban rhythms. Following a break to share pot-luck food, the band will invite aspiring vocalists and musicians, as well as seasoned pros, to join them onstage for a "jazz woodshed" session to work on improvisational skills.

Admission is by a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for students ages 18 and under, with proceeds going to the scheduled musicians. Guests are also encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share.

Rodriguez has been studying music since he was a 9-year-old boy enrolled in an arts school in his hometown of Santiago. For more than seven years, he toured the world as general percussionist and music arranger for the Cuban group, Septeto Tipico Tivoli. He holds a degree in classic percussion from the Conservatorio de Musica Esteban Salas and currently teaches Afro-Cuban percussion at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro and performs with local bands such as Simba and Fenibo.

Gerstin’s percussive explorations have led him from the folk traditions of Ghana and Nigeria to Cuba, Martinique and Brazil, as well as jazz from New Orleans brass bands to avant-garde experimentalism. He appears with the Caribbean/Mideastern acoustic group, As Yet Quintet, Latin jazz sextet Green Mountain Mambo, 12-piece afrobeat band Fenibo and Afro-Cuban folkloric dance ensemble Iroko Nuevo. He teaches music at Keene State College and the Vermont Jazz Center.

"Sam’s Sunday Set and Shed" was conceived by Silktone Productions’ founder Samirah Evans. The monthly music series is based on her own experience as an up-and-coming vocalist in New Orleans, where it was customary for seasoned artists to invite young musicians and singers onstage.

For more information, contact Silktone Productions at 802-365-1234 or e-mail


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