BMS Spotlight: Jake ShermanCategory: BMS NEWS Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Twenty-four-year-old BMS Alumni Jake Sherman, began music study at a young age and has not stopped. His diverse music education at Brookline Music School steered him into the direction of becoming the talented musician he is today. Jake’s introduction to BMS was at age 3, participating in early childhood classes with Ruth Schecter and a Boys Dance class with Tom Krusinski. He then ventured into Suzuki piano lessons with Steve Snitzer until age 9, when he switched to piano lessons with James Merenda. Jake also took a class at BMS called “Midi Sequencing” which was his first introduction to recording music. During his last two years of high school, Jake studied piano with Doug Johnson and became more serious about his musicianship.
Jake’s parents, active musicians themselves, insisted on his continuous music study. “I always loved music and improvising, but, like most kids, I hated practicing for much of my childhood. My parents could see that I had potential and they forced me to keep going,” Jake explained, “They used various methods such as sitting with me to make sure I practiced and bribing me with baseball cards.” Today, Jake realizes that his parents were a great source of motivation and is grateful they made him stick with it.
Jake was part of an ensemble, led by John Purcell for five years, took “Jazz in July,” which is now the “Summer Recording Project” for three summers, and was a member of the Matthew A. Hudgins’ Scholarship Ensemble. “Many of my formative musical moments took place in John Purcell’s ensembles,” Jake continued, “John exposed me to a lot of great music, but chose it based on when I was ready to get into it. It was invaluable to have him as a mentor.”
During his senior year, Jake was selected for the 2008 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Band and participated in the National YoungArts Foundation. Following his BMS years, Jake took jazz piano lessons at Rivers Music School, piano technique at New School of Music, and attended Berklee, where he explored different genres and how to record music. Jake is knowledgeable and enjoys playing jazz, ragtime, gospel and pop music.
Jake was introduced to the Hammond organ at BMS and was lucky enough to take it home. After ensemble practice, a band-mate showed Jake, what he called “a behemoth of an instrument” in an upstairs studio. It was a Hammond R-182 organ. Every week after ensemble, Jake messed around with the instrument until one day he got to take it home for free.
“The organ is my main instrument these days, but piano is my first instrument,” revealed Jake, “they fill very different roles in a band setting, and it has been beneficial for me to be able to play both.” Jake also plays melodica, bass, various keyboards and specifically, the Hammond B3 organ or a model functionally identical.
Jake recently recorded and released his first self-titled album, which includes pop influenced songs he had been working on from age 12. Jake wrote his own parodies of current pop songs in the Weird Al Yankovic style, his biggest influence in that genre. “I continued writing music with lyrics throughout my teens,” Jake recalled, “I’m glad that I spent all that time messing around early on because it takes years of experimentation to learn how to write a good song.” Releasing his first album has given Jake’s career the biggest lift to date, because according to Jake, “I have a product that pulls together many of my influences and gives a full picture of who I am musically.” The seven song CD can be purchased at Jakeshermanmusic.com.
“Playing live is an adventure,” Jake explained, “It’s the parts of the show that are improvised and different every time that make live shows exciting and memorable.” Jake plays and records with various musicians and has two bands. Jake plays organ and is featured on recently released albums with the Ralph Peterson Unity Project, with Jesse Scheinin and Nick Hakim, and with several others. His bands, the Jake Sherman Trio play his pop music, which features one of his oldest musical friends, Kyle Miles on bass and Themba Mkhatshwa on drums, and the Jake Sherman Organ Trio play jazz tunes, and include Armand Hirsch on guitar and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums.
Jake has already had a life full of music, with many years of experience spent at Brookline Music School and his career will only continue to flourish. “BMS was the first place I played improvised music with other people. The first band I was in formed out of a BMS ensemble, and this led to the career that I have now…I hope that both my pop and jazz projects will continue to grow and become successful as I learn more about music and myself,” Jake concluded.
The Jake Sherman Trio will perform on Wednesday, March 12 at the Redstar Union in Cambridge at 8pm.