“The feelings of overcoming and transcending are palpable to me. From Muddy Waters to John Coltrane, there is ample proof that it is possible to touch those feelings through sound, and that is why I make music.” – Noah Baerman
Jazz pianist and composer Noah Baerman’s tenacity and his cutting edge yet soulful music have made him an inspiring figure to a growing legion of admirers. Over ten years after nearly walking away from the piano due to his struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), an incurable connective tissue disorder with which he was born, Noah is playing and composing with more authority than ever. These challenges and his experiences as a foster parent have deepened his already fierce commitment to “message music,” as evidenced by his powerful 2014 release Ripples (“With its heady mix of transcendence, activism, deep lyrical expression and soulful sense of swing, pianist/composer Noah Baerman’s triumphant new CD, Ripples, is one of the best and the brightest releases to grace our region in quite some time.” – Owen McNally, WNPR Jazz Corridor) and his position as founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit Resonant Motion.
Noah earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University in the 1990s under the mentorship of Kenny Barron ( “Mr. Baerman is very creative and imaginative and has the technical wherewithal to bring his creative ideas to fruition.” – Kenny Barron), also having formative experiences with teachers including Ted Dunbar and Joanne Brackeen. Since then he has participated in and composed for numerous recordings, including nine CDs as a bandleader. His 2003 release Patch Kit features jazz legends Ron Carter and Ben Riley and revolves around his struggles with EDS (“Much more than just a commendable exercise in education and humanitarianism, this is a wonderful and inspiring musical journey that’s a testament to the power of jazz, humor and positive energy to turn a challenging situation into one of joy and hope.” – Joel Roberts, All About Jazz – New York). Patch Kit raised awareness and funds for EDS and led to an invitation from Marian McPartland to be a guest on her long-running NPR program Piano Jazz in 2005. Two compositions premiered on that show then appeared on his album Soul Force, a tribute to the life and message of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Soul Force featured Noah’s writing for large ensemble, here featuring trombonist Robin Eubanks, percussionist Warren Smith and saxophonists Steve Wilson, Jimmy Greene, Wayne Escoffery and Claire Daly. In 2008 he was awarded a “New Jazz Works” grant from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation. The resulting Know Thyself, an emotionally sweeping 65 minute suite for septet, was premiered at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and at the Jazz Gallery in New York and recorded for a 2010 release. He has led a trio consistently since 2001, with that unit also serving as the core for the cooperative ensemble Playdate and Baerman’s chamber jazz octet.