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Not even Hurricane Katrina could stop saxophonist Vandell Andrew from pursuing his dreams with new EP


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Saxophonist Vandell Andrew nearly saw his dreams swept aside by the lethal force of Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans native was on the verge of receiving instruction from jazz icon Edward “Kidd" Jordan before tragedy struck the region. Andrew ended up having to move to Dallas, Texas, where he honed his chops in the local jazz circuit. Andrew's gift for playing the sax, once derailed by Mother Nature, is in full bloom on his new eponymous debut EP.

Despite being limited to four cuts, the EP is a stunner. “Walk My Way" opens with the sounds of wildlife and tropical percussion, giving the track a summertime vibe that is further comforted by warm acoustic guitars and the soft strokes of Andrew's saxophone. There is soul in this man's playing, far from the antiseptic performances that often tarnish smooth jazz recordings. To Andrew, it is through his saxophone that he can communicate his thoughts and feelings. “I want to speak positive messages through my music," he revealed. “Music is my inspiration for everyday life."

It was through his mother that Andrew discovered the important role music would have in his life. “My mother was a musician. She had always wanted me to play music, but I was really into sports," Andrew explained. “When I was 13-years-old, my mom enrolled me in a jazz summer camp in New Orleans. I joined the marching and jazz band at St. Augustine High School, and within the four years of attending this school, I found a stronger love for jazz. We played music by Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane. By the time I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted pursue music as a career."

Only 23, Andrew's bold self-confidence and technical prowess are in impressive display on the EP. In “Affliction," the gentle touch of Andrew's sax is fueled by torrid passion, plumbing the emotional depths opened by the dramatic shades of the piano. For Andrew, this is only the beginning. “I want to build a strong brand," Andrew said. “My goal is to have a recognizable sound in the jazz industry."

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