American pannist (steel pan soloist) and composer Andy Narell is an iconoclast who fearlessly challenges the narrow definitions of acceptable pan music. He is global, and his usefulness as an ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument is tainted by suspicion long held by panmen (steel pan players) and the steel pan fraternity in general here. It may be an attitude of his own making. Long held beliefs are hard to dispel with logic. Pan pioneer Rudolf Fish Eye" Ollivierre welcomed itinerant writer Patrick Leigh Fermor back in 1950 to Hell Yard, as described in his travel book The Traveller's ...read more
It almost seems required in many cases, that jazz artists incorporate other styles into their music, whether it is blues, R&B, pop, classical or Latin. Half a century ago, jazz and calypso were fused together for the first time, and now Andy Narell and modern-day calypso legend Relator revisit that relationship with University of Calypso. Narell is perhaps the world's foremost steel pan artist, making a career of working this instrument into the realm of jazz. His studio and stage associations include a diverse range of artists, including Dave Samuels and the Caribbean Jazz Project, Spyro Gyra, Michael ...read more
There are times when you have to admire an artistic effort for its sheer audacity if nothing else. Andy Narell's Tatoom is one such statement. Commercial considerations aside, Narell is doing nothing less than to continue growing and developing as a musician. In the process of pushing himself he's pushing the listener as well, which may limit the appeal of the album. Let's face it: jazz isn't always about giving the people what they want. The best jazz gives the people something they never expected.For those willing to listen with a open mind, Tatoom presents Narell's powerful playing ...read more
The steel pan, sometimes referred to as the steel drum or oil drum, is almost synonymous with Latin music. However, one artist has taken the instrument into another realm. For almost thirty years, Andy Narell has been a world force, not only playing jazz with the pans but also writing jazz for this instrument. Over the course of his career, he has been a bandleader, partnered with vibraphonist Dave Samuels for the Caribbean Jazz Project, toured and recorded as a member of the quartet Sakesho, and he has appeared as a guest on recordings by Spyro Gyra. ...read more
Spotlighting the internationality of jazz by offering a wide range of music from all over the world—including such diverse releases as the recent Africa Straight Ahead ; Word of Mouth, a Jaco Pastorius tribute album; and The Caribbean Jazz Project —the only common denominator at Telarc’s Heads Up imprint is outstanding recording quality and the unexpected. Their latest release, The Passage, proves no exception. Capturing the compositional and instrumental skill of steel pan artist Andy Narell, The Passage boasts a 30-member steel pan orchestra; guest soloists Michael Brecker, Paquito D’Rivera, and Hugh Masekela; and seven original Narell ...read more
If your kids have a way of taking out all the pots and pans from your cupboards and wacking away at them, encourage them. They may someday get it all together and turn out to be a steel pan artist like Andy Narell. In a few years, you could be dancing to the exciting rhythms of the Caribbean on the same spot those same kids were practicing". Since 1979, Narell has not only applied his imagination and instrumentation to the music of the Caribbean, but to jazz rhythms as well. On his latest you get a flavor for both, although ...read more
During the years of apartheid in South Africa, music from the rest of the world had difficulty finding its way into the country, both due to many artists joining the international boycott of the country to protest the policy and due to the state's tight import controls on anything cultural entering the country. But with the lifting of economic restrictions in the early 90's, residents had easier access to music from the rest of the world. Since it was still difficult for many low income people to afford CDs, they would form listening clubs, pooling their resources to buy CDs ...read more
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