Since moving to the US from Trinidad and Tobago in 2009, David Bertrand has become a distinctive voice on flute in the New York jazz scene. In addition to performing on multiple flutes and clarinets, David has created an individual style as a composer, seeking to integrate rhythms of Trinidad’s folkloric musical traditions with modern jazz. His group, the David Bertrand Quartet is devoted to playing his original music and has performed at several notable venues in NYC including Shapeshifter Lab, The Cornelia Street Cafe, Club Bonafide, Nublu, Spectrum and the Whynot Jazz Room.
As a sideman David has worked with Julia Chen, Chuck Ferrugia, Emiliano Valerio, Zamba2Samba, The Bushwick Hotel, Leonor Falcon, Teatro SEA, Antonio De Vivo and Elan Parle and has performed at venues and festivals the US, Caribbean and Latin America.
Growing up in Trinidad, David played a wide range of classical and folk music before a chance BBC broadcast catalyzed his defining passion for jazz. Whilst encouraged by the artistry of flutists like Joe Farrell and Kent Jordan, the under utilization of the instrument as well as the fundamental bias against flute in the jazz world became apparent. He was determined to join the fraternity of musicians who have championed the flute as a credible jazz instrument, one deserving as much respect as the more historically established horns.
David’s own voice has been deeply influenced by the jazz saxophone world, initially by the iconic figures of John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Cannonball Adderly. Drawn to NYC by the approach of players on the contemporary scene, his playing has been shaped by the work of saxophonists like Mark Turner and Chris Bacas. His parallel pursuit of playing modern jazz on clarinet, inspired by the work of Eric Dolphy, Michael Moore and Claudio Puntin, has led to a rich cross pollination between that instrument and the various flutes in his arsenal.
TEACHING & EDUCATION
David holds an MA in Jazz Performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College.