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Take Five With Andy Farber

Take Five With Andy Farber
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Meet Andy Farber:

Andy Farber is an award-winning jazz composer, arranger and saxophonist and has spent years performing with the likes of Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
b.1921
vocalist
and Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
b.1961
trumpet
. Since 1994, Farber has been part of the Jazz @ Lincoln Center stable of writers and performers.

Through J@LC, Farber has toured with the J@LC Orchestra, written originals compositions and arrangements and been a guest artistic director. Farber has written arrangements for people like Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Shirley Horn
Shirley Horn
Shirley Horn
1934 - 2005
piano
, Bobby Short
Bobby Short
Bobby Short
1926 - 2005
piano
, Ann Hampton Calloway, Frankie Laine, Alan Harris, Cynthia Scott
Cynthia Scott
Cynthia Scott

vocalist
, Billy Stritch, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
b.1950
keyboard
, B.B. King
B.B. King
B.B. King
b.1925
guitar, electric
, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
b.1941
composer/conductor
, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
, Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, Joe Piscopo, Joe Cocker, George Benson
George Benson
George Benson
b.1943
guitar
, Robert Downey Jr, Kevin Spacey, Wynona Judd, Fantasia, Ernestine Anderson, Vanessa Williams, and Roseanna Vitro
Roseanna Vitro
Roseanna Vitro
b.1954
vocalist
.

Farber's arrangements have been performed by The Boston Pops Orchestra, the Philly Pops Orchestra, the Boca Pops Orchestra and several symphony orchestras throughout Europe. Farber has been a guest conductor of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and, in 2004, made his symphonic conducting debut with the Bronx Arts Ensemble. In April 2010, Farber was the guest music director for Jazz @ Lincoln Center's "The Music of Fats Waller." His work as an arranger, conductor and instrumentalist can be heard on numerous recordings, commercials and television/film scores.

As a leader, Farber leads an eight-piece band (Andy Farber & His Swing Mavens) and a 17-piece big band, Andy Farber & His Orchestra. The orchestra enjoyed a two-year residency at Birdland in NYC. A new CD with the orchestra is due out in the fall of 2010.

When he's not playing jazz, Farber composes music for TV and film and is a staff composer at Duotone Audio Group. Farber also teaches jazz composition and arranging at The Juilliard School in New York City.

Instrument(s):

Saxophones, clarinet, flute, arranger.

Teachers and/or influences? Saxophone teachers and/or mentors: Budd Johnson
Budd Johnson
Budd Johnson
1910 - 1984
sax, tenor
, Chris Woods
Chris Woods
b.1925
, Arnie Lawrence, Billy Mitchell
Billy Mitchell
Billy Mitchell
1926 - 2001
saxophone
and Jesse Farb.

Composing/arranging teachers and/or mentors: David Berger
David Berger
David Berger
b.1949
band/orchestra
, Mitch Farber, Carl Strommen, Mike Abene.

Influences: Arranging/composition: Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
, Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
1915 - 1967
piano
, Ernie Wilkins
Ernie Wilkins
Ernie Wilkins
1922 - 1999
arranger
, Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
1910 - 1981
piano
, Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
, Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
b.1933
producer
, Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
, Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
1917 - 1965
arranger
, Neal Hefti
Neal Hefti
Neal Hefti
1922 - 2008
trumpet
, Billy Byers
Billy Byers
b.1927
, Marion Evans, Jimmy Mundy
Jimmy Mundy
b.1907
, Gerald Wilson
Gerald Wilson
Gerald Wilson
1918 - 2014
composer/conductor
, Al Cohn
Al Cohn
Al Cohn
1925 - 1988
sax, tenor
, Sy Oliver
Sy Oliver
Sy Oliver
1910 - 1988
arranger
, Don Redman
Don Redman
Don Redman
1900 - 1964
arranger
, Skain, Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
1897 - 1952
arranger
, Frank Wess
Frank Wess
Frank Wess
1922 - 2013
sax, tenor
, Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
1927 - 1996
sax, baritone
, Clare Fischer
Clare Fischer
Clare Fischer
1928 - 2012
band/orchestra
, Don Costa, Billy May
Billy May
Billy May
1916 - 2004
composer/conductor
, Oliver Nelson
Oliver Nelson
Oliver Nelson
1932 - 1975
arranger
, Janice "Ms. JJ" Johnson
Janice "Ms. JJ" Johnson
b.1953
vocalist
, many others;

Saxophone: Hawk, Prez, Bird, Benny Carter
Benny Carter
Benny Carter
1907 - 2003
sax, alto
, Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
, Don Byas
Don Byas
Don Byas
1912 - 1972
sax, tenor
, Lucky Thompson
Lucky Thompson
Lucky Thompson
1924 - 2005
saxophone
, Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
, Paul Gonsalves
Paul Gonsalves
Paul Gonsalves
1920 - 1974
sax, tenor
, Gene Ammons
Gene Ammons
Gene Ammons
1925 - 1974
sax, tenor
, Johnny Hodges
Johnny Hodges
Johnny Hodges
1907 - 1970
sax, alto
, Frank Wess
Frank Wess
Frank Wess
1922 - 2013
sax, tenor
, Billy "the Sloth" Mitchell, Budd Johnson
Budd Johnson
Budd Johnson
1910 - 1984
sax, tenor
, Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
1924 - 1982
saxophone
, Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
, Jim Pepper
Jim Pepper
Jim Pepper
1941 - 1992
sax, tenor
(yes, that's right!) John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
, Wardell, Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Stan Getz
1927 - 1991
sax, tenor
, Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
1936 - 1977
reeds
, Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
1932 - 2006
sax, alto
, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
saxophone
, Sonny Red Kyner, Hank, Charlie Mariano
Charlie Mariano
Charlie Mariano
1923 - 2009
reeds
, Marshal Royal
Marshal Royal
1912 - 1995
sax, alto
, Skeets Herfurt, Willie Smith, Jerry Dodgion
Jerry Dodgion
Jerry Dodgion
b.1932
, Jerome Richardson
Jerome Richardson
Jerome Richardson
1920 - 2000
reeds
, got to stop now...getting tired!

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was four years old.

Your sound and approach to music:

Play and write music that is fun to play and write. As long as you're true to yourself, don't worry about what other people think.

Favorite venue:

Birdland, NYC!

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

The latest one because it's the new baby.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

I had grown up with my father's jazz record collection of classic albums of the '50s and '60s. The first record I bought with my own money was Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

CDs you are listening to now:

Dan Block, Dan Block Plays the Music of Duke Ellington: From His World to Mine (Miles High Records);

Sherman Irby
Sherman Irby
Sherman Irby
b.1968
saxophone
Quartet, Live at the Otto Club (Black Warrior Records);

Ernie Wilkins
Ernie Wilkins
Ernie Wilkins
1922 - 1999
arranger
, Top Brass and Trumpets All Out (Fresh Sound).

Desert Island picks:

Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
& His Orchestra, Such Sweet Thunder (Columbia);

Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
1932 - 2013
trumpet
, Blackjack (Blue Note);

Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
, April in Paris (Verve);

Gene Ammons
Gene Ammons
Gene Ammons
1925 - 1974
sax, tenor
/Sonny Stitt, Boss Tenors (Verve);

Ernie Wilkins, The Everest Years (Empire Music Group Inc).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I wouldn't dare say.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Don't forget to swing and play the blues.

What is in the near future?

About to start a "two tenors" record with Dan Block. (Tribute to Zoot and Al) Next big band project will be jazz arrangements of Louis M. Gottschalk music.

By Day:

Staff composer at Duotone Audio Group. I also teach jazz composition and arranging at the Juilliard School.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

classical musician?


Photo Credit

Courtesy of Andy Farber

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