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by Glenn Astarita
Alan Lomax's (1915-2002) field recordings and research heightened our awareness of folk music, i.e. Americana. He reintroduced many of us to our cultural origins where other musical genres received their humble beginnings. Shortly after graduating college, clarinetist, composer Andy Biskin was Lomax's research assistant. And here, the artist revisits the aura of Lomax's lifelong plight and efforts by forging a union with folk, jazz, classical and manifold interpretations that intimate little big band-like arrangements. The clarinetist and trumpeters ...read more
by Mark Corroto
Maybe you're not the type of American comfortable shouting USA...USA...USA!" at sporting events. You might though, reconsider the prohibition after listening to clarinetist Andy Biskin and 16 Tons' Songs From The Alan Lomax Collection. If you know your history you're aware the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, beginning just before WWII, recorded (and preserved) folk and blues music in North America. Criss-crossing the states, he safeguarded our traditional music, much of which would have been lost to time. Consider, for a moment, ...read more
by Dave Wayne
A working jazz musician in New York City and environs since 1991, clarinetist, composer, and filmmaker Andy Biskin is a modern-day Renaissance Man. The Texas native was already a fixture in San Antonio's polka scene (yes, people, this is a thing) as a teenager, Biskin attended Yale where he double-majored in music and anthropology. Later, he joined the staff of the legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. While working as an independent videographer and video producer / director, fate intervened and a ...read more
by Glenn Astarita
Act Necessary is clarinetist-composer Andy Biskin's fifth album, where he integrates the jazz idiom into Americana, slapstick fare, funk and other disparate genres. He's an artist who stands out among his peers as he goes against the grain, while always mingling wit and whimsy into his overall musicality. Biskin's amiable and bubbly clarinet work forges an entryway into off-center rhythmic exercises amid a good-timey vibe; however, his music is not saccharine or schmaltzy. And he employs an all-star unit on ...read more
by George Kanzler
Stephen Foster was America's first pop songwriter, his music widely sung and played, as well as reproduced on music boxes (this album begins and ends with examples) in the last half of the 19th Century. But Foster is not the only uniquely American musician clarinetist Andy Biskin takes inspiration from in this idiosyncratic album.
The spirit of Raymond Scott, whose music was created roughly a century after Foster's, also informs this project. Scott's antic style--best known from his soundtrack work ...read more
by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Andy Biskin spins a musical tragicomedy on Trio Tragico. With Dave Ballou (trumpet) and Drew Gress (bass), he presents a melancholic but discretely jovial blend of chamber music and exciting new rhythms. The clarinetist's live set at Cornelia Street Café in early October captured the electricity of the trio. The improvisational bits of the performance were clean and affable, without tonal contradictions or awkward transitions. Onstage, Biskin seemed to be just as comfortable talking about his songs ...read more
by Jeff Dayton-Johnson
In the October 2006 issue of Jazzman magazine, Vincent Bessières documents the explosion of jazz renditions of compositions by Björk, pointing to versions by artists like Geoff Keezer, Marcin Wasilewski, Greg Osby, Eric Legnini, Jason Moran, Larry Goldings and Dave Douglas. (If he'd waited another month or so, he could have included a lovely reading of New World" on Florian Weber's new trio record Minsarah, Enja/Justin Time, 2006.) Jazz musicians' salutary interest in Björk's songs reflects a ...read more