Andrew Speight is a clear-toned, hard driving alto sax player, one of the Bay Area's most lively and lyrical exponents of straight-ahead, joyous jazz. A native of Sydney, Australia, Speight came of age playing with American stars like Percy Heath, Nat Adderley and Benny Carter as they passed through town. His 1998 CD, Andrew Speight Quartet, won an Aria Award, the Australian version of a Grammy.
Speight has been in the U.S. since the early 90's, leading jazz programs first at Michigan State University and now at San Francisco State. But most importantly, Speight has been blowing the doors off of every joint lucky enough to have him on the bandstand.
Speight appeared with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb on this year's highly acclaimed CD, Marsalis Music Honors Jimmy Cobb, released by the record owed and run by Branford Marsalis.
Andrew Speight's early introduction to the jazz world of Sydney, and the world at large, was facilitated by the fact that his father, John Speight, was a jazz pianist and his mother, Niddrie Wauchope, was a singer. Big name American jazz players would often come through on their own and pick up local backing bands, and Speight's father would frequently get hired and bring his son along to observe.
My parents knew all the good musicians, Speight told an interviewer for the website JazzWest a few years back. It wasn't uncommon for there to be jam sessions at the house.