All About Jazz

Home » Search Center » Results: Andy Narell

Results for "Andy Narell"

Advanced search options

Musician

Andy Narell

Born:

Andy Narell has spent more than a quarter century exploring the subtleties and complexities of steel pan and grafting them to the jazz idiom. He's one of only a small handful of steel pan players in the world who are playing jazz, and perhaps the only one among that coterie to commit an entire career—live and in the studio—to creating new music for the pan in that context.

In recent years, Narell has also explored the potential of the steel pan on an orchestral level. He enlisted the services of Calypsociation, a thirty-piece steel pan orchestra based in Paris, to record The Passage, his 2004 recording on the Heads Up label. That exploration continues with the release of Tatoom: Music for Steel Orchestra in February 2007. In addition to Narell playing all 22 pans in meticulously layered and carefully mixed orchestral arrangements, Tatoom also features three brilliant soloists: guitarist and labelmate Mike Stern, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez and percussionist Luis Conte. With drummers Mark Walker and Jean Philippe Fanfant driving the rhythm section Narell’s steelband sound has an unmistakable jazz groove.

Tatoom was recorded in various locales around the world, including Paris, New York, Boston, LA, the SF Bay Area, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

“This whole record was recorded one instrument at a time,” says Narell. “It was quite different from The Passage, where I recorded thirty pan players live. I started with the drums, the congas, the percussion and the iron, and then I put all the pans on one at a time. Then finally the soloists.”

This attention detail and commitment to creative perfection—no matter the scale—is nothing new for Narell, who has been almost singlehandedly ushering steel pan music into the mainstream since the 1980s. After a string of critically praised and commercially successful albums on Windham Hill Jazz throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Narell joined the Heads Up label with the release of Behind the Bridge in 1998, followed by Fire in the Engine Room in 2000. But in the midst of hammering out his career—recording in the States; playing festivals and other gigs around the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean; composing for the Panorama steel band festival in Trinidad; laying down tracks on albums, film and commercials—he was unaware of a grassroots movement taking shape in South Africa that would have a dramatic impact on his musical and cultural perspective.

The end of apartheid in 1994—which included a lifting of economic restrictions and a transition to majority rule in South Africa—allowed residents of the major cities and outlying townships easier access to recorded music from around the world. A network of “listening clubs” sprouted throughout the region as low-income South Africans pooled their monies to buy CDs of their favorite artists. By the late ‘90s, Narell had ascended to folk-hero status in a fan club he knew nothing about.

Narell collided with his own destiny in the fall of 1999 during a visit to South Africa for the Arts Alive festival, where nearly 80,000 people turned out for his performance (he’d only expected to fill a few 200- or 300-seat clubs during his visit). The response to his music was so powerful and inspiring that he returned to South Africa the following spring for an extensive concert tour that reunited him with the band he’d played with during his initial visit. Live in South Africa, released in 2001, chronicles his two-night stand at the Blues Room in Johannesburg at the tail end of the tour.

Album

EHA Paris Rio New York

Label: Kwazil/Plaza Mayor Company Serg 250
Released: 2020
Track listing: 1984(Fanfare); Mars; Missie Didie; Nuits Magnétiques; 1984(Funky Cover); 2 Stars in my Skies; Celeste A; Toronto Layover; Dudatjo; Plain Dance; Queen of my Nights.

2

Article: Album Review

Adan Hagley: Insomnia

Read "Insomnia" reviewed by Nigel Campbell


The Trinidad-born Nobel laureate, VS Naipaul, implied that Trinidad and Tobago was a country of mimic men, but its geographic location in the world and social history makes the pull of myriad sonic and rhythmic influences inevitable. Adan Hagley on his debut album, Insomnia, has made those connections from his wide listening palette. He cites Michel ...

1

News: Recording

Guitarist Tommaso Costa Debuts with “Too Far, Too Close”

Guitarist Tommaso Costa Debuts with “Too Far, Too Close”

For his 2019 debut Too Far, Too Close, Costa combines electric jazz, rock, and blues into his own guitar sound with European sophistication and style that resonates from his homeland of Italy. “My favorite thing is the sound of the record," Costa explains. “It's got a great modern tone with a vintage feel." Too ...

3

Article: Multiple Reviews

The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants

Read "The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants" reviewed by Nigel Campbell


Steelpan musician, Andy Narell and his older brother Jeff Narell represent a game change in the status quo of island music and the instruments born in the Caribbean. Originally created as an musical accompaniment to celebrate Trinidad Carnival, the steelpan has evolved over the years to become a modern acoustic instrument family that supplies a range ...

9

Article: Album Review

Leon Foster Thomas: Metamorphosis

Read "Metamorphosis" reviewed by Dave Wayne


Throughout the history of jazz, what once seemed to be oddball instruments have inexorably become part of accepted sonic landscape, while others have fallen into disuse. It's hard to believe that the vibraphone, flute, and violin were once seen as un-swinging, non-jazz instruments, while the banjo and tuba were considered essential linchpins of the jazz sound. ...

Article: Multiple Reviews

Jazzy Christmas - Creole Christmas

Read "Jazzy Christmas - Creole Christmas" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


I canti natalizi si sono trasformati nel tempo da inni prettamente religiosi, derivati da laudi o ninne-nanne in onore a Gesù bambino, a pop song strutturate sul modello Tin Pan Alley, che celebrano il Natale in un'ottica secolarizzata, mantenendo i valori di amore e fratellanza. La relazione tra jazz e canti di ...

15

Article: Album Review

Wild Card: Organic Riot

Read "Organic Riot" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


Music can signal rebellion, initiate change, influence the thoughts of an entire generation. Or it can cause thousands of disparate individuals to get up and dance and generally have a good time. Organic Riot, the third album from London-based funksters Wild Card, may not signal incipient revolution but it's certainly got the good-time, get up and ...

6

Article: Profile

An American in Paradise: The sense of Belonging of Andy Narell

Read "An American in Paradise: The sense of Belonging of Andy Narell" reviewed by Nigel Campbell


American pannist (steel pan soloist) and composer Andy Narell is an iconoclast who fearlessly challenges the narrow definitions of acceptable pan music. He is global, and his usefulness as an ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument is tainted by suspicion long held by panmen (steel pan players) and the steel pan fraternity in general here. ...

7

Article: Big Band Report

Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names

Read "Pointing Fingers... And Naming Names" reviewed by Jack Bowers


As the countdown continues toward the last Big Band Report in June, the time has come to point fingers and name names--in other words, to compile a short list of contemporary jazz musicians who have risen above the norm to help make life more pleasurable for one devoted listener. These are, mind you, personal choices, and ...


Engage

Contest Giveaways
Enter our latest contest giveaway sponsored by Sunnyside Records
Publisher's Desk
Get to Know Us (in 2021)
Read on.

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.