Andy Statman: East Flatbush Blues & Awakening from Above


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Andy Statman
East Flatbush Blues

Andy Statman
Awakening from Above

There is no one quite like Andy Statman. A virtuoso clarinetist and mandolin player, he deftly navigates the seemingly incongruent musical landscapes of jazz, bluegrass and Chassidic music.

On East Flatbush Blues, Statman lets his mandolin take center stage. A mix of traditional tunes and original compositions, part of the CD was recorded during Statman's weekly gig at the Greenwich Village Synagogue. Highlights include Statman's swinging version of the Bill Monroe classic "Bluegrass Stomp and his rendition of Monroe's "Rawhide , which sounds like a cross between John Coltrane and the father of bluegrass himself. This hybrid of sounds, in Statman's able hands, makes perfect sense.

The original compositions reveal Statman's knack for melody and strong sense of rhythm. The beautiful, slightly frenzied "17 will have the listener dancing and marveling at how the mandolinist pulls off the intricate phrases. Named after the city in central Ukraine where thousands make a yearly pilgrimage, the lovely "Uman pays homage to Statman's faith. The centerpiece of the CD would have to be "Old Joe Clark . A ten-minute tour de force, Statman, bassist Jim Whitney and percussionist Larry Eagle really go for it on this track.

Yet East Flatbush Blues only presents part of the picture. Awakening from Above, a collection of improvs and Chassidic melodies, finds Statman exploring adventurous sonic landscapes on the clarinet. This disc has an otherworldly, meditative quality to it. The opening track, "Yedid Nefesh/My Soul's Beloved , is a haunting composition by Rabbi Chaim Avraham Horowitz. For "Forshpiel/Improvisation , Statman recorded a mandolin drone and then overdubbed the clarinet. "Meron Improvisation , a duet with Eagle, showcases Statman at the height of his improvisational abilities.

It's fitting that these two CDs are presented as companions to each other. To appreciate fully Statman's genius, one must know the clarinetist, the mandolin picker and the man of faith.

Tracks and Personnel

East Flatbush Blues

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

Personnel: Larry Eagle: drums; Andy Statman: clarinet, mandolin; Jim Whitney: bass.

Awakening from Above

Tracks: Yedid Nefesh (My Soul's Beloved); Merciful One, Answer Us; Hallel (Praise); Forshpiel (Improvisation); Rikkud (Dance); Yechadsheyhu (Renew Us, O God); Galitzianer Lecha Dodi (Come, My Beloved); Yaakov Avinu Niggun (The Patriarch Jacob's Song); Meron Improvisation; Kah Ribon Olam (Master of the Universe); Breslev "Days of Awe" Melody; Modzitz Waltz; Welcoming the Sabbath; Reb Michel Zlotchover's Deveykus Niggun (Improvisation).

Personnel: Larry Eagle: drums; Andy Statman: clarinet, mandolin; Jim Whitney: bass.


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