Curtis Andrews
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Curtis Andrews

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF | AFM
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"Andrews delivers an eclectic, jazzy and rich international musical palette"


By John Lane
Percussive Notes
November 2009

Newfoundland percussionist and composer Curtis Andrews delivers an eclectic, jazzy and rich international musical palette in this debut album. The music, all composed by Andrews, is wonderful melding of jazz, Indian Carnatic music and the music of West Africa. What seems like an unlikely combination of musical cultures comes together under Andrews’ well crafted yet complex compositions and highly charged performances by an impeccable group of musicians. Andrews performs sensitively on drumset and mrdangam throughout. He is joined by a core group of musicians: Patrick Boyle, trumpet; Bill Brennan, keyboards; Chris Harnett, alto saxophone; Brad Jefford, guitar; Josh Ward, bass.
The most unique composition is probably “Tisra Misra”, which the composer calls a “Carnatic Be-Bop.” The straight-ahead jazz improvising and style is well played against a unique formal structure of Indian Carnatic music. Other highlights include Andrews’s mrdangam playing on “Malabar” and “Bhairavi” and the funky “Camel Ride."
Unlike many such ventures in which elements of world music are combined with other musical styles, Andrews’ music never suffers from an identity crisis. The music and performances are honest and uplifting. Andrews also surrounded himself with excellent musicians who make the rhythmically difficult music sound effortless. Overall, this is an impressive debut.
- Percussive Notes Magazine


"a rich multicultural banquet"

The Offering of Curtis Andrews

Curtis Andrews

Independent (www.curtisandrews.ca)

I’ve been smiling more than usual today, bopping around the apartment to this joie de vivre-filled CD by Curtis Andrews, Newfoundland’s globe-trotting percussionist and composer.

Very ably aided by fellow islander musicians Patrick Boyle (outstanding on trumpet), Bill Brennan (keyboards), Chris Harnett (saxes and flute), Brad Jefford (electric guitar) and other fine players, Andrews’ very eclectic world roots are clearly on display here.

The music is self-described as “world jazz” and the tag fits. Drawing from Andrews’ studies in South Asian, West Africa and North America music, “The Offering of…” merges all those influences in an energy-rich field, couched in mainstream jazz forms improv-rich solos and melodic-harmonic language. With such a rich multi-cultural banquet, I must admit it took me several listening to fully clue into the multi-layered inter-cultural musical goings on.

Equally at home on mrdangam (South Indian classical drum) and Ewe (West African) percussion as on drum set, Andrews sets a high musical standard for his collaborators. Not indulging in mere musical exoticism Andrews impresses with his good humour in Genghis Khanda Blues (yes, it is in 5/4), and shear musical ambition on exhibit in his virtuoso mrdangam solo in Malabar. One of my favourite tracks is Camel Ride, an enigmatic though easy-going east-coast feel post-Shakti bebop. Kaju Fenny (titled after a reportedly wicked Goan cashew liquor) is another outstanding chart. A tip: if you want to join the players in their fun, just be sure to keep tapping a slow 7 beat cycle throughout its convoluted beat groupings. That way you can land on the downbeat with them.

“The Offering of Curtis Andrews” marks the debut of an important and accessible new world-conscious compositional and percussion voice. Visit the website to preview the album, download the free charts, and hum or play along! - WholeNote Magazine


"uplifting, engaging and warmly human.."

Curtis Andrews
The Offering of Curtis Andrews
By Glen Hall

Newfoundland percussionist/composer Curtis Andrews brings his wholehearted love of, and respect for, his mentors/gurus — Don Wherry, Kwasi Dunyo and Trichy Sankaran — to this varied CD. And it's his positive vibe that carries the 71 minutes of music, making it engaging, uplifting and warmly human. With a variety of percussion — mrdangam, congas, a drum set, shakers, glockenspiel — Andrews keeps things interesting and decidedly upbeat, with go-for-broke blowouts like "Ode to Odomos" or polyrhythmic hoedowns like "Vedic Square Dance." Andrews' compositions, which must have required plenty of rehearsal prior to recording, are played with flair and commitment by some talented band-mates: Patrick Boyle on trumpet and Josh Ward are among the strong contributors, either with energetic solos or deft support for the tricky goings-on in the challenging charts. In the end, though, it's the life-affirming heart these musicians bring to the music that makes this CD worth your attention. (Independent) - Exclaim! Magazine


Discography

"The Offering of Curtis Andrews"-2008

Photos

Bio

Curtis Andrews is a Canadian musician with global persuasions. He creates music that is informed by his many years of experience with West African, South Indian and jazz traditions yet transcends most categories. In December 2008 he released his first record entitled “The Offering of Curtis Andrews”, a collection of 12 original pieces that draw from his studies and travels in Asia, Africa and at home in North America. Already it is gaining steady praise as some of the most original and refreshing music to come out of Canada in recent memory. He is the recipient of "Male Artist of the Year" and "Instrumental Artist of the Year" 2009 by MusicNL (provincial music association of Newfoundand/Labrador) as well as 2009 winner of the Atlantis Music Prize (NL equivalent of Polaris Music Prize).

Consisting of drumset, percussion, mridangam (South Indian classical drum), Ewe percussion (West African), electric bass, electric guitar, trumpet, alto/tenor sax, flute, vibraphone and Fender Rhodes, the pieces themselves range from the virtuosic and mind-bending to soothing and meditative.
Listen with open ears, mind and heart and you will not be disappointed.

Raised in the town of Carbonear, Curtis taught himself to play the drumset as a youth after being inspired by Max Roach, late 80’s/early 90’s hip-hop and heavy metal. Since then, he has become a recognized player of jazz, rock, reggae, funk, hip-hop, country, pop, improvisational music and world music. Over the years, he has performed and recorded with most of the major original groups and artists in Newfoundland.

A graduate of York University, his personal musical journeys over the years have extended to villages and metropolises of Ghana, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and he has developed a deep knowledge of the history and performance of music from these areas. His personal mentors have included (the late) Don Wherry, Trichy Sankaran and Frederick Kwasi Dunyo. He continues to study and perform with these masters whenever possible.

A leader in his field, Curtis is the founder and artistic director of Dzolali Drum and Dance Ensemble, which performs music and dance from West and Southern Africa. He is a teacher of African and Indian percussion, drumset, Zimbabwean mbira and West African music, dance and song. A regular participant in the international Sound Symposium, he has been a member of its artistic selection committee for the past 6 years. He has contributed deeply to the cultural diversification of the music scene in modern-day Newfoundland, both through his own projects and his endeavours to introduce musicians of other cultures into his environment.

In June 2009 he relocated to Vancouver, BC...for love!!