Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Lehmann, Bertram

Lehmann, Bertram, drummer, percussionist, ethnomusicologist, writer; b. Ulm, Baden-Wuertemberg, Germany, 7 September 1967. Family eventually relocated to Oldenburg in 1974 (Lower Saxony), where he spent his entire school years until graduation from the 'Altes Gymnasium' in 1987. Father Wolfram Lehmann (b. 1937) had a successful theater career as director, actor, director's assistant, and stage manager until switching to public education in the 80's, mother Marie-Luise de Roma (b. 1946) had early professional career as a classical vocalist, later becoming principal of an elementary school. After his first musical instruction on recorder and piano, Bertram received regular drumming lessons from members of the Oldenburg State Orchestra starting at age 11, primarily by Mr. Harald Patzold.

While continuing this primarily classically oriented training, in 6th grade he had his first experiences in the area of jazz drumset performance as a member of the jazz band at the Altes Gymnasium. Frequent attendance of ongoing jazz ensemble classes offered by the local music school led to first professional activities with regional jazz and pop ensembles by the early- to mid-1980's, including the progressive-rock group Dirty Harry and the Testtube Zoo, a winner in the 1987 Horfest band competition by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk. During the late 1980's, Bertram also regularly augmented the percussion section of the Oldenburg State Orchestra, performing alongside his former teachers in various operatic and symphonic productions until 1988.

Following his army service from 1987/88 as member of the army band Heeresmusikkorps 11 in Bremen, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for the first time during the 1989 spring and fall semesters and again from summer 1991 to the fall of 1996, earning first a diploma and later a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance. During the fall of 1990 he also studied briefly at the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands (with Peter Ypma and Hans van Oosterhout), and participated in a Cuban music workshop at the Ignacio Cervantes music school in Havana, Cuba. Drum teachers at Berklee included Alan Hall, Ed Uribe, Joe Hunt and Ian Froman. Further drum set studies with Ignacio Berroa, Bob Weiner, Duduka da Fonseca, Alex Sanguinetti.

While still completing his degree at Berklee College of Music in the mid-1990's, Bertram started to become an integral part of the New England music scene, catching the attention of such established local artists like vocalist Rebecca Paris, pianist Bert Seager, or vibist Victor Mendoza. Starting in 1992 he also received first international exposure during tours to Israel (with pianist Sasi Shalom) and in Germany (with the trio of pianist Hiroshi Minami). In later years, Bertram performed with groups led by such internationally renown artists like Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, Dave Samuels, Paquito D'Rivera, vocalist Mili Bermejo, and many others, while also appearing alongside other Jazz and Latin music greats like Kenny Werner, Danilo Perez, George Garzone, Claudio Roditi, Romero Lubambo, and Charles Neville.

In 1998 Bertram earned a scholarship to attend Tufts University in Medford, MA from where he graduated in 2002 with a Master of Arts in the area of ethnomusicology, having studied, among others, with David Locke and Kofi Agawu. During that time he also led several undergraduate-student jazz ensembles as a graduate teaching assistant in the university's music department.

Over the years, he has been a member of numerous Jazz-, Latin- and Worldmusic ensembles based out of Boston, including the Indo-jazz group Natraj with whom he performed in India and Ghana, the contemporary Afro-Cuban group Mango Blues, and the Tango-Jazz ensemble of Buenos Aires native Katie Viqueira. Since 2002, he has also been appearing with the quartet of Cuban piano prodigy Tony Perez, himself a former member of legendary groups Irakere, Klimax, and Isaac Delgado.

As part of his numerous appearances throughout the U.S. and in further countries such as Russia, Ecuador, Mexico and Canada, Bertram has performed at a wide variety of distinguished venues and events that, among others, include the Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, The Knitting Factory, The Jazz Gallery, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Columbia University in New York City; the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow/Russia; at Panafest in Accra/Ghana and Jazz Yatra in Mumbai/India; at Symphony Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Jordan Hall in Boston; the Boston Globe Jazz Festival; at the University of Texas/Austin; Oberlin College; the IAJE Convention '96 /Atlanta, GA; Savannah On Stage; the Hannover Jazzfestival and Ingolstadter Jazztage in Germany; Agosto Mes de las Artes in Quito/Ecuador; and the Philadelphia Musuem of Art. He was a winner in the 1994 "Downbeat Student Music Awards," as well as in 1996 competition "Percussionists on Fire," held by the magazine JAZZIZ.

Aiside from his activities as a performer, Bertram Lehmann also maintained an interest in music journalism as well, contributing essays, music reviews, and interviews as a staff writer for the Brazilian music magazine BOSSA during the late 1990's, and occasionally having penned liner notes to releases by the Double Time and Brownstone labels.

As an educator, he has been active in the Boston area as a private instructor in institutions that include Berklee College of Music, Tufts University, Philips Academy Andover and others, as well as having conducted workshops or clinics at the University of Bremen/Germany, Wellesley College, Bowdoin College, the University of New Hampshire, Savannah/GA Public Schools, the "Centro Cultural" in Quito/Ecuador, the 'Young Audiences Massachusetts' program, at the 'Boston Music Collaborativ', and for 'Inquilinos Boricuas En Accion'  in Boston.

He currently resides in Arlington, MA and New York City.

Recordings (selected):
Crosscurrent: Crosscurrent (1996), The Island (1996), By The Sea (1997), Rituals (2000); Mango Blue: Immigrant Blues (2001); Natraj: Deccan Dance (1998); Mark Shilansky: Different Songs (2000), Other Voices (2003); Boston Musical Theater: Music of the Americas - South and North (2000); Jimmy Haslip: Red Heat (2000); Katie Viqueira: El Otro Lado (1999); Peter Janson: Sometimes From Here (2001); The Klaus Spenker Quartet: Somewhere In America (1998); Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra: Herb Pomeroy Tribute Concert (1995, feat. Gary Burton, Joe Zawinul, John Abercrombie); Sophie Duner Orchestra: Orange (1994); Sasi Shalom's Modus; The Way I See It (1993); Celia Slattery: Movin' On (2001)

Radio and television broadcasts:
TV performances for Boston's WGBH-TV "La Plaza" (2000, with Mango Blues, 30min. program taped live and aired nationwide on PBS),
MCET, Somerville Community Access Television, WHDH Boston, WSBE-TV Providence, Bollywood TV.com.
Radio performances for WERS Boston, WGBH Boston, WICN Worchester, Radio of India.Com, Radio Bremen and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Germany),
99.3 FM "La Luna"( Quito, Ecuador ).
He also appears on the soundtrack to the PBS television mini-series "Race: The Power of an Illusion" (2003, music by Claudio Ragazzi).

"The Syntax of 'Clave': Perception and Analysis of Meter in Cuban and African Music." Masters Thesis, Tufts University, 2002.
Fernando Huergo - "Living These Times" (liner notes, Brownstone Recordings, 1998)
Nando Michelin Brazilian Project - "Live at the Acton Cafe" (liner notes, Double Time Records, 2002)
Various articles and reviews for BOSSA magazine, 1996-98.

Contact information:

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