Andy Statman, one of his generation's premier mandolinists and clarinetists. presents a clinic as part of Roots and Reason. Learn more about the series.
Had there been a planetarium in 19th-century Galicia, or a kosher deli in Depression-era Kentucky, Statman's music might have been playing in the background. Statman, one of his generation's premier mandolinists and clarinetists, thinks of his compositions as "a spontaneous, American-roots form of very personal, prayerful hasidic music, by way of avant-garde jazz."
While still a teenager, Statman's virtuosity on and passion for the mandolin led him into a progressive bluegrass band and into the company, as a session man, of musical heroes such as Bob Dylan and bluegrass fiddler Vassar Clements.
After feeling a tug away from bluegrass during his late teens, Statman, stirred at the time by John Coltrane's experimental jazz, found himself compelled to master the saxophone, learning from little-known jazz-saxophone virtuoso Richard Grando.
That's when lightning struck. Statman realized that he needed to find his own spirituality, in music and in life, in his own Jewish roots. Since then, Statman's journey has taken him to new places he's somehow been before. He's recorded a number of traditional Jewish-inspired albums, as well as the classical klezmer sensation In the Fiddler's House with Itzhak Perlman. He's also done some more bluegrass-inspired work.
Statman currently performs his distinctive, unconstrained meditations on jazz, klezmer, bluegrass and the human soul with bassist Jim Whitney and percussionist Larry Eagle.