New York (NY), USA – Clarinet and mandolin virtuoso Andy Statman has released two new CDs: East Flatbush Blues (Shefa #HORN 3001) and Awakening from Above (Shefa #HORN 3002). Both recordings independently pursue his ‘ passions for both American bluegrass and Jewish roots music. And each showcase his improvisational skills, melding jazz, folk and world music into one personal vision.
Early on in the project, there was actually a discussion about producing these two CDs as one album called Two Sides of Andy Statman – except combining Rawhide and the Hassidic Days of Awe on the same track list was an unsolvable problem.The recordings present two different aspects of Statman’s virtuosity: East Flatbush Blues is an American-roots based collection of bluegrass classics, originals, and improvisations, featuring Andy’s mandolin playing. The other members of Andy’s trio are equally versatile and adventurous players: Jim Whitney on acoustic bass, and on percussion and drums, Larry Eagle, who recently performed on the Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions recording and tours.
Awakening from Above is a creative take on Eastern European Jewish music, featuring Andy’s improvisations for solo clarinet. The Hassidic niggunim (melodies) explored here are at the heart of Jewish mysticism. These songs were written in order to induce certain profound experiences during the prayer service, explains Statman, who embraced orthodox Judaism when he was already an established American roots musician.
Statman’s approach is expressive, expansive, emotionally probing, and fluidly improvisational He can go wherever the spirit takes him; has unlimited musical interests and mega-chops; takes a repertoire of old time fiddle tunes, blues, Klezmer and Hasidic melodies, infused with elements of bebop, free jazz, and ethnic music, and turns them inside out.