Trombonist Mariel Bildsten Takes Center Stage with Quartet at May Edition of Jersey Jazz LIVE!

by Madonna

Renowned trombonist Mariel Bildsten, originally hailing from Santa Barbara, CA, made her mark in New York City’s vibrant jazz scene after graduating from the New School’s School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2015. Recognized for her dynamic improvisational style, Bildsten has established herself as a fixture in the New York/New Jersey jazz circuit, earning accolades for her spirited performances.

Currently holding a monthly residency at the Django Jazz Club in Tribeca, Bildsten’s musical journey has seen her grace prestigious venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre, and the Caramoor Jazz Festival. Notably, she is a valued member of the Mingus Big Band and has showcased her talents as lead trombonist with Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble.


On Sunday, May 5, Bildsten will lead a quartet at the Madison (NJ) Community Arts Center as part of the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Jersey Jazz LIVE! concert series. Joining her onstage will be pianist Miki Yamanaka, bassist Marty Jaffe, and drummer Charles Goold.


Bildsten’s latest album, Steppin’ Out, released on Outside in Music in August 2023, features a stellar lineup of musicians including Yamanaka, trumpeter Bruce Harris, and saxophonists Sarah Hanahan and Ruben Fox. The album showcases Bildsten’s diverse repertoire, with renditions of classics like Duke Ellington’s “Downtown Uproar” and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Polka Dots and Moonbeams.”


Inspired by trombonist Lawrence Brown, a former member of Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, Bildsten’s passion for jazz shines through in her music, earning her critical acclaim and recognition from publications like JazzTimes and New York Music Daily.

Accompanying Bildsten, pianist Miki Yamanaka brings her own brand of creativity to the stage, with her latest album, Shades of a Rainbow, highlighting her nimble and expressive piano playing. Bassist Marty Jaffe, a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and winner of the International Society of Bassists’ jazz competition, adds depth and groove to the quartet, while drummer Charles Goold’s sincere update to the mid-century modern jazz sound, as noted by The New York Times, sets the rhythmic foundation for the ensemble.

Before Bildsten’s quartet takes the stage, a Rising Star quartet led by Pascack Valley High School trombonist Ming-Lang Qin will showcase emerging talent. Featuring drummer Cole Rosenberg and student musicians from Ridgewood High School, this ensemble promises to set the stage for an unforgettable evening of jazz exploration and celebration.


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