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Take Five With Curtis Andrews

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Curtis Andrews: Drummer/percussionist/composer Curtis Andrews strives to create, assemble, mix and discover. Schooled in the jazz tradition, he prefers to take his music beyond that and has studied intensely, the music of Ghana and India. As a result, his debut album The Offering of Curtis Andrews is unlike anything you may have heard.

Instrument(s): Drum set, mrdidangam, mbira, various African percussion.



Teachers and/or influences? Teachers: Don Wherry, Trichy Sankaran, Kwasi Dunyo, Ledzi Agudzemegah, Avu Adukpo, Agbo Setsoafia, Sunday Nyakpo, Barry Elmes.

Influences: Music of the shrines, Carnatic music, life, Jimi Hendrix, Sun Ra.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I could spend hours at the drums and not be bored.

Your sound and approach to music: My sound is always developing. My goal is to just find my own original and creative voice and not follow others and the trends of the day. If I am happy with it, I know at least one other person will be too. Integrity and respect to tradition is also a must.

Your teaching approach: Obviously when someone comes to me for a lesson, they think I know something they do not. But I always hope to learn something from the student as well. If the student can leave the lesson with their minds opened just a little bit more, my job is done.

Your dream band: Any group which is open to exploring and creating together in the spirit of brother/sisterhood and to have fun doing it. Individual names and fames are irrelevant.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I guess that would have to be my own record It is the culmination of many things coming to a point...a beginning in many ways.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers' Moanin'.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? In my own humble way, I hope I can open the minds and ears of the people listening by combining elements and influences in ways that may not have been done before.

Did you know... I once swallowed a silver chain.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Expanding.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Truth, integrity and vision.

What is in the near future? Forming a new ensemble in Vancouver, BC, Canada to play my music.

By Day: No job...yikes!

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: I don't think of myself as a jazz musician, actually.


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