Flute and holler! Musician wants to change the flute’s image

Flute and holler! Musician wants to change the flute’s image
Juhui Kwon

He’s all flute, no suit!

A Park Slope flutist is hoping to change the image of his instrument! At his concert at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on April 7, David Bertrand plans to don a cool, casual outfit and demonstrate that the silvery woodwind can take a leading role in a jazz quartet. The Trinidadian musician plans to use his talents to elevate the status of the flute compared to other popular jazz instruments, he said.

“The stigma is very much still there and the flute has had a hard time because of physics — it doesn’t play as loud as a trumpet or a saxophone,” said Bertrand. “Many bands didn’t have flute players and very often the folks doing solo on flutes were saxophonists.”

The lack of trained flutists created a false view of the instrument and its place in jazz music, he said.

“As a result there was a lot of bad flute playing and people’s opinions were shaped by people that weren’t invested in flute,” said Bertrand.

At the show, which celebrates his upcoming album “Palmyra and Other Places,” Bertrand will play flute alongside his bassist, guitarist, and drummer. The quartet plan to drop the usual stiff suits in favor of a more approachable style, said Bertrand.

“Jazz was known to be played by people who wear suits — and coming out of post-Colonialism, the men who wore suits are the guys you don’t trust,” he said. “But basically we’re just guys playing jazz wearing sweaters — not against wearing suits, but working out what it means to be modern jazz musician.”

He is looking forward to playing at the historic Park Slope building and showcasing his jazz style to his neighbors, he said.

“Being able to play in building that is over 100 years old — it’s an old building and I’ll be playing with people I love to play with,” said Bertrand. “I try to make the music I’m writing honest and lovely, and even if you are not a fan of jazz music, you’ll dig it.”

David Bertrand at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music [58 Seventh Ave. between Lincoln and Saint John’s places in Park Slope, (718) 622–3300, www.bkcm.org]. April 7 at 7 pm. $15.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.