Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.
- Common Ground Coffeehouse at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings-on-Hudson NY
“Andy Statman, clarinet and mandolin virtuoso, is an American visionary” — The New Yorker
” … One of the most important Jewish creative artists
of the postwar era.” — The Jerusalem Post
Bill Monroe and John Coltrane poured into one person. .. He plays all those just great crazy jazz kind of licks, but with the heart and fire of Bill Monroe … I don’t know anyone else that approaches the mandolin the way he does.” —Ricky Skaggs, NPR
Had there been a planetarium in 19th century Galicia, or a kosher deli in Depression-era Kentucky, Andy Statman’s music might have been playing in the background. Meandering through time, geography and culture, the man and his inimitable hybrid sound move freely among the before, the after, and the present.
Andy Statman, one of his generation’s premier mandolinists and clarinetists, thinks of his compositions and performances as “spontaneous American-roots music and personal, prayerful hasidic music, by way of avant-garde jazz.” This modest man takes for granted that a performer might embody several worlds in his art, and seems humbled by the fact that his music, like his story, is extraordinary.
It’s a story Andy Statman rewrites with his trio every time they perform: “We’re creating an experience between the audience and us,” with their unconstrained meditations on hasidic music and groove-driven explorations of American-roots music. Statman’s long-time collaborators are bassist Jim Whitney and percussionist Larry Eagle. “At a certain point,”says Statman, “we’re just talking, just having a three-way conversation.” This “conversation” changes each time they take the stage, with no melody sounding quite the same as it did before. A totally un-self conscious performer, Andy Statman leaves audiences elated and at times mystified, having experienced a musical performance unlike any other.
In addition to the Andy Statman Trio, Jim Whitney appears in many musical worlds as a bassist. He is an original member of the jazz-bluegrass fusion group The Wayfaring Strangers, and has performed with such acting stars as Meryl Streep, John Goodman and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a member of the group Parabola, under the direction of composer/conductor Carter Burwell. He has appeared with jazz notables Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell and Alan Dawson, and has worked with bluegrass luminaries Richard Greene, Tim O’Brien, David Grisman and Darol Anger. Also a proficient electric bass player, he appears in the country-rock group Miller’s Farm, and is a member of singer/pianist Debbie Deane’s soul and groove trio. Jim has toured extensively, having performed in Europe, Japan, Singapore, Israel, Central America, New Zealand, Canada, and much of the U.S.
Drummer and percussionist Larry Eagle keeps his musical portfolio diversified. He’s a founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s Sessions Band (which won a Grammy for traditional folk music), and played on R&B/Soul artist John Legend’s Grammy-winning second album. He’s played on a Blues Grammy nominee (with Odetta), a Country & Western Grammy nominee (with Andy) and recorded albums with bluegrass superstar Ricky Skaggs and powerful jazz/soul singer Lizz Wright. Larry has performed on The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Good Morning America, PBS, the BBC and an ice-breaking Baltic Sea ferry out of Naantali, Finland.
Common Ground Community Concerts is a grassroots music production and event planning organization based in Westchester County NY. For the past 13 years, Common Ground has produced its flagship Common Ground Coffeehouse series, sponsored by (and hosted by) The First Unitarian Society of Westchester, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY.