4:48pm

Mon February 28, 2005
Columns

Noah Baerman on Piano Jazz March 6

Noah Baerman is guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz program on Sunday, March 6th at 7:00 p.m.

Pianist and educator Baerman is a remarkable young player. Though battling Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare disease of the connective tissue, he continues to put his energy into jazz education, with several teaching jobs and eight successful books about jazz. Baerman joins McPartland for "There is No Greater Love," and "Black Orpheus."

Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Noah Baerman began piano studies at age eight. He had is first formal jazz training at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven and at Jackie McLean's Artists' Collective in Hartford. He went on to earn Bachelor's and Master's degrees in jazz studies from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he also taught several jazz courses. While at Rutgers, Noah was mentored for six years by jazz piano legend Kenny Barron. The list of jazz artists with whom Noah has worked includes Ralph Bowen, Charles Fambrough, Jimmy Greene, Stefon Harris, Jay Hoggard, Larry Ridley, TanaReid (Rufus Reid and Akira Tana), Mark Turner, and many others. He also co-led the quartet Positive Rhythmic Force from 1994-1999, performing at countless clubs, concerts, and festivals and recording two acclaimed CDs.

He formed the Noah Baerman Trio in 2001, around the same time that his life-long struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) finally necessitated a marked increase in performing restrictions. No longer able to tour or to play many of the gigs that had been his "bread and butter," he shifted focus to his trio and began an three year residency at the It's Only Natural (ION) restaurant in Middletown, CT. In 2002, he and his trio recorded the album U-Turn. His follow-up recording was his most ambitious to date. The widely praised album Patch Kit, recorded with his dream rhythm section of Ron Carter and Ben Riley, is a musical expression of his struggles with EDS and looks to raise awareness of the condition. It is also a fund-raiser, as all of the proceeds go to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. He followed this up with his first live album, What It Is, recorded on his 30th birthday, and an appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, slated to air in early 2005.

Noah is also a committed educator. He teaches at Central Connecticut State University, Wesleyan University and Charter Oak State College in addition to keeping a thriving private studio in which he teaches jazz piano, improvisation and composition. His playing and teaching style have been codified in eight successful books published internationally by the Alfred Publishing Company. These books include Jazz Keyboard Harmony, the Big Book of Jazz Keyboard Improvisation and the three-volume Complete Jazz Keyboard Method. His first instructional DVD will be released in late 2004 or early 2005.

In addition to his straight-ahead jazz credentials, Noah has had a broad range of other musical experiences. He has been very active for years in the interdisciplinary arts, creating and participating in performance pieces that incorporate spoken-word poetry, puppetry, theater, modern dance, and visual art. Many such pieces have been collaborative efforts with his wife, visual artist Kate Ten Eyck. Noah has also worked professionally as a keyboardist in many styles, including classical, rock, blues, R&B, and Latin music, appearing onstage with artists ranging from Dream Theater's John Petrucci to folk legend Pete Seeger. He also served for several years as Musical Director, Producer and Songwriter for the soul group Mr. B's Boogie Band.

In his occasional spare time, he is a doting husband and an earnest student of vegetarian cooking, wellness and social activism.