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Andy Statman: Two Worlds at Once

Andy Statman

A world-renowned virtuoso on two wildly disparate instruments-mandolin and clarinet-Andy Statman reveals the depth of his staggering musicality on a pair of new releases for his Shefa label. On East Flatbush Blues, Statman showcases his uncanny mandolin picking on highly personal renditions of Bill Monroe staples like “Rawhide” and “Bluegrass Stomp” along with radical interpretations of traditional bluegrass numbers like “Arkansas Traveler,” “Golden Slippers” and “Old Joe Clark.” Elsewhere on this heartfelt examination of American roots music, which comes 26 years after his landmark first mandolin recording (Flatbush Waltz on Rounder), Statman also expresses himself as a composer in this “jazzgrass” idiom on affecting originals like “Roots Waltz,” the sprightly “17,” the Eastern European-flavored “Uman” and the earthy title track.

Statman’s companion CD, Awakening From Above, is a soul-stirring collection of clarinet improvisations on Jewish sacred music. Here Statman explores the connection between master klezmer clarinetists Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras and spiritually searching tenor saxophonists and “new thing” prophets John Coltrane and Albert Ayler.

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