Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

306

Andy Statman: Blue Grass and Black Hats

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
Through three decades of dedication, Andy Statman has reached a high plane. The youthful exuberance of discovery has been supplanted by mature enlightenment and musical self-realization. Coltrane comes to mind as another artist whose spiritual development became so inextricably intertwined with his music that he and his art became one.

As a clarinetist and interpreter of traditional Chassidic melodies, Statman is clearly in a modern Jewish music class by himself. As a mandolinist and interpreter of American roots music, he is a bluegrass innovator with lightning fast technique.

Individually, these two new offerings, released in tandem, showcase both Statman's mandolin mastery and the rarefied place that he and his clarinet continue to occupy in Jewish music.

Andy Statman
East Flatbush Blues
Shefa Records
2006

East Flatbush Blues begins with two tunes composed by bluegrass creator Bill Monroe, and proceeds through a program of self composed and traditional music. Statman—who prior to discovering his own ethnic roots music in the late 1970s brought a new spin to traditional bluegrass, with an exciting meld of blazing runs, jazz creativity and avant-garde originality—here delivers his first all-mandolin album in 25 years.

None of the luster is gone as he rips through traditional tunes like "Arkansas Traveler and "Golden Slippers while turning "Old Joe Clark? on to the new music. Statman's rhythm section of bassist Jim Whitney and drummer/percussionist Larry Eagle is perfectly understated throughout, the two musicians allowing Statman plenty of room.

Both players do, however, take their due, with Whitney adding his own turn to the glide of "Roots Waltz and Eagle setting a sprightly tempo for "17, before the title cut offers its decidedly slow walkin' blue perspective on the famed Brooklyn neighborhood. "Uman leaves bluegrass behind for a balalaikan feel that features gorgeous arco bass moments and a fiery outro.

Andy Statman
Awakening From Above
Shefa Records
2006

While East Flatbush Blues is evidence that Statman has matured as a mandolinist without sacrificing a step, Awakening From Above bares his soul. Consisting of melodies that are a part of the Jewish liturgy, improvisations and Chassidic nigguns, Statman's playing is truly inspired as his horn chants songs of devotion, joy and sadness. Liner notes for each song scrupulously detail their origins and serve as a scholarly addition.

Following a soaring presentation of clarinet virtuosity on the heartfelt "Yedid Nefesh (My Soul's Beloved) , Statman alternates between cantorial power and jazzman's inventiveness on the familiar melody, "Merciful One, Answer Us. The century old melody of the "Hallel is powerfully exposed in the context of a sparse drumbeat before Statman overdubs his mandolin with screaming Eb clarinet for a bit of "Forshpiel (Improvisation) .

A frenzied "Rikkud (Dance) whirls as if possessed, leading into the achingly beautiful line of "Yechadsheyhu (Renew us, O God)" that is lovingly buttressed by Whitney's bow. Using an antique Eb instrument, Statman reaches back to antiquity in a stirring performance of "Yaakov Avinu Niggun (The Patriarch Jacob's Song) that wonderfully leads into a lively improvisatory duet with Eagle on clay drum and drum set.

In a performance filled with highlights, Statman concludes with an awe inspiring extended doina (free metered improvisation) based on "Reb Michel Zlotchover's Deveykus Niggun, played on the clarinet bequeathed to him by renowned 20th century klezmer clarinetist, Dave Tarras.

While stylistically dissimilar, taken together these releases impeccably define Statman's unique musical oneness.


Tracks and Personnel

East Flatbush Blues

Tracks: Rawhide!; Blue Grass Stomp; Arkansas Traveler; Golden Slippers; Roots Waltz; 17; East Flatbush Blues; Sweet Potatoe; Uman; The Memphis Jacques; Old Joe Clark; The 'Sensitive' Waltz.

Personnel: Andy Statman: mandolin, Eb- clarinet (11); Jim Whitney: double bass; Larry Eagle: drums, percussion.

Awakening From Above

Tracks: Yedid Nefesh (My Soul's Beloved); Merciful One, Answer Us; Praise; Forshpiel (Improvisation); Rikkud (Dance); Yechadsheyhu (Renew us, O God); Come, My Beloved; Yaakov Avinu Niggun (The Patriarch Jacob's Song); Meron Improvisation; Master Of The Universe; Breslev 'Days Of Awe' Melody; Modzitz Waltz; Welcoming The Sabbath; Improvisation.

Personnel: Andy Statman: Eb and Bb clarinets, mandolin (4); Jim Whitney: double bass; Larry Eagle: drums, percussion.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Stephan Thelen and Sonar: Minimal Grooves at Maximum Volume Multiple Reviews
Stephan Thelen and Sonar: Minimal Grooves at Maximum Volume
By Geno Thackara
January 12, 2019
Read Meeting of the Minds and Sounds: The Clarinet and The Oud Multiple Reviews
Meeting of the Minds and Sounds: The Clarinet and The Oud
By Doug Collette
January 12, 2019
Read Two major releases from Ferran Fages Multiple Reviews
Two major releases from Ferran Fages
By John Eyles
January 11, 2019
Read Music Matters: SRX Vinyl Multiple Reviews
Music Matters: SRX Vinyl
By Greg Simmons
January 10, 2019
Read Tim Motzer: Late-Night Soundscapes Multiple Reviews
Tim Motzer: Late-Night Soundscapes
By Geno Thackara
December 26, 2018
Read Drummers As Leaders Multiple Reviews
Drummers As Leaders
By Jerome Wilson
December 23, 2018