Joel Behrman
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Joel Behrman


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"5 STARS from"

"Joel Behrman reintroduces the listener to the long lost art of a great melody played with great tone, articulated with spot on phrasing and emphasizing the one essential element so many artists overlook - fun!
-Brent Black,

"DownBeat gives STEPPIN BACK 3 stars!!"

"Behrman has a bright, shining trumpet voice...." -Jon Ross, DownBeat - DownBeat Magazine

"San Jose Mercury - Paul Freeman's review of Steppin Back"

San Jose-based trumpeter/composer Joel Behrman steps onto center stage with an allstar collection of Bay Area musicians. He offers striking originals, as well as tunes associated with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Joe Henderson. Behrman's playing is soulful, swinging and surging with genuine emotion. Known for his work with such artists as Sheila E. and Pete Escovedo, Behrman deserves a following of his own. - San Jose Mercury News


Steppin Back - Joel Behrman (Releasing 10/23/2012)

Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (2011)

Caravan - Lisa Engelken (2010)

Breaking the Sound Barrier - Audio Cultures (2009)

Brass Bows And Beats (A Hip Hop Symphony By Adam Thesis) - Jazz Mafia Symphony / Adam Theis (2009)

Jazz, Baby! - Doug Beavers (2007)

Instruments of Mass Pleasure CD - Alex Budman (2005)

The Highest Good - Brass Monkey Brass Band (2005)



Born on May 22, 1975, in Belleville, IL, Joel Behrman grew up in a suburb of St. Louis. At nine he started studying his first instrument, trombone, a horn that he still plays frequently today. He picked up the cornet several years later, and since his main music teacher was a trumpeter, it was easy to develop both horns simultaneously. While earning a music degree at the University of Miami he studied with world-class improvisers like Ira Sullivan (another two-horn master) and broke into the local scene playing countless salsa gigs. After a year of graduate studies, he took a gig with KC and the Sunshine Band as a trombonist, which ended his academic career and introduced him to the rigors of life on the road.

Looking to relocate to California and renew his commitment to jazz in 2000, Behrman ended up settling in the Bay Area, where several UM buddies had already established themselves. He started playing with the New Orleans–inspired Brass the Monkey Brass Band on trumpet and trombone, joining percussionist Kevin Stevens and saxophonist Joe Cohen, both UM alumni. He played funk with Lenny Williams, the former lead vocalist with Tower of Power; East Bay grease with Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, another vintage soul/R&B combo; and New Jack Swing with Tony! Toni! Toné!—all gigs that required him to hone his trumpet chops and really develop his technique.

Joel met Marcus Shelby within weeks of moving to the Bay Area, and has performed with his jazz orchestra in recent years, including his acclaimed 2011 suite exploring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., “Soul of the Movement.” He’s performed regularly with the Glide Ensemble and Change Band, which performs at Glide Church, a progressive San Francisco institution that started incorporating jazz into services in the late 1960s. The most important gig was joining swing/blues vocalist Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, a band that long ago transcended the swing dance fad that brought the band national attention in the 1990s

These days Behrman is touring internationally with percussion star Sheila E., and also performing widely with her father, the Latin jazz great Pete Escovedo.