Just got back from the little #orthodox Derech Amuno Synagogue in the West Village for night 423 of Andy Statman and Co. With the exception of certain holy days, he plays there pretty much every monday and thursday.
This night however, he was joined by a man who'd never set foot in a synagogue, yup - #Mr. Ricky Skaggs. WOW. I'm still kind of speechless, as I often am, after seeing Andy, but I'll do my best here to tell you a little about it.
The night began as usual with andy doing four or five unnamed jewish/klezmer clarinet melodies which kind of became freeform jams. Bad Livers bassist, Mark Rubin was there this evening, replacing Jim Whitney, and Larry Eagle was on the drumset, cajon box, canning jar, washboard.....as usual.
For those who don't know him, Rubin is an incredibly interesting bass player. He plays very melodically but also very on top of them beat (similar to bub). he really pushed andy and the early tunes moved a lot harder than usual as jim's attack is a bit smoother and more in the groove. Additionally, Mark played tuba on the last tune with very similar attack which was great to watch.
During this time, Ricky sat in back of the stage (a small bimah), wowed along with the rest of us. i was sitting up near the front (the whole room is maybe five or six hundred square feet) and overheard andy tell ricky to just join them whenever he felt like it. he told him he'd put out charts, but ricky politely responded "i don't read".
After this set, Ricky came in and kicked it off with a rousing rendition of Old Joe Clark. Much like the early tunes, they began with a simple stating of the melody and then just got other-worldly, with each players' break cycling through the tune several times. It ended with a glorious double mando harmony and Ricky tagging the ending with a little klezmer sounding lick that andy taught him during the set break.
The evening continued in similar fashion with other tunes like maidens prayer, a new orleans style blues jam in G, and an absolutely ripping arkansas traveler (which andy recorded on flatbush waltz). Also, they were joined by an old friend of andy's - jerry something (polish sounding name starting with W) from Wisconsin who was in town. like andy, he was a little jewish guy, but he started singing and you'd swear it was a young peter rowan. he did miner's dream, shoulder to cry on, and highway of sorrow. No tenor or singing at all from ricky though!!!
I encourage everyone who comes to NYC to check out andy if you get the chance. he is really an incredible and under-rated mandolinist. I know the whole soul debate is kind of a touchy subject in the mando communitty, but I don't think anyone could argue that #andy isn't just oozing with it!
Was speaking with mark after the show and he put it best - he said: #this is one of those "dude, you missed it" nights. I couldn't have put it better myself. I mean, ricky skaggs, in a little orthodox shul....only in new york kids.
my buddy took some pics, hopefully we'll get them up here soon.
btw-if there's any mando-nerds out there, ricky was playing his distressed skaggs model and andy had his kimble.