View Full Version : The Andy Statman Interview

Nov-21-2010, 9:05pm
The Mandolin Cafe has posted news:
The Andy Statman Interview

The Mandolin Cafe's Forum members have the questions, and mandolin legend Andy Statman has the answers for another of our extended feature interviews.


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Don Stiernberg
Nov-21-2010, 9:40pm
Thank you Andy. Thank you Mandolin Cafe.

Nov-21-2010, 11:27pm
I've been hearing the name Andy Statman for awhile now, and this interview finally sparked me to go out and get some of his music. I just downloaded East Flatbush Blues and Flatbush Waltz off of itunes and Andy's Ramble is on its way!

Nov-22-2010, 1:28am
Amazing talent and musicianship with Inspiration nothing short of transcendental. Thank you Andy for sharing a bit of your world with us. And as always Scott I tip my hat to the high standards you set for the Cafe and our little community.

Nov-22-2010, 3:52am
Wonderful portrait of a wonderful musician! A reminder: Andy, Larry and Jim play most weeks in NYC at the Charles St Synagogue. The trio is really something, a true meeting of musical minds. To call them a rhythm section doesn't do those guys justice. Each shines while providing a 'foundation' that frees Andy to do his thing.

And thanks Andy, and producer, Ed Haber, for providing that swingin' cut from the upcoming "Old Brooklyn".

John Kinn
Nov-22-2010, 6:03am
Arkansas Traveller will never be the same after this..thanks again for another great interview!

Dan Hoover
Nov-22-2010, 7:42am
great interview,thank's Andy,and thanks Scott..

Nov-22-2010, 8:55am
Here's a photo of the headstock of Andy's Kimble mandolin. You'll notice that it is also 'flawed', like the back, with needlessly beautiful irregularity! There's a 'flame' or 'puff of smoke' of lighter wood running up from the Gibson A-3 curlicue, through the maker's name. It's actually, pretty visible when seen head-on.

Here's what the luthier said about the striking one piece back: "I thought this back was very cool but didn't think it was suitable for a custom order because it was so strange—wasn't sure who would or wouldn't like it."

Elliot Luber
Nov-22-2010, 10:40am
I was fortunate to begin taking lessons with Andy a year ago (before a health issue interceded on my side), and I wanted to thank the Cafe for the heads-up that he had been taking-on students in the first place, or it wouldn't have happened. Of course I'd like to thank Andy for the inspiration -- not just teaching me to play bluegrass, but the history, evolution and oral traditions. He even let me play the Kimble -- though I was really too scared to play much. Andy's the real deal, and a very thoughtful, generous and patient teacher. Of course the little things he was picking unconsciously way up the neck while he spoke are light years beyond what I'll ever have the dexterity to play, but I won't ever give up!

Nov-22-2010, 11:50am
man that cut from the forthcoming album is awesome!!! Killer chops...and Andy's last solo is amazing.

Nov-22-2010, 1:09pm
Andy will be teaching at this year's Mandolin Symposium! How cool is that?!

Aaron Woods
Nov-22-2010, 2:13pm
In addition to coletrickle - his solos are hazy CRAZY. Berline's take off the top was awesome and inspired, groovy with a funk and then..... Andy resolves a trajectory to Mars or some distant galaxy before settling us back gently to earth without a bump, but a groove.

wow, what a ride.

Nov-22-2010, 4:01pm
Andy rules the world of jazz mandolin... As well as damn near every other genre. His crosspicking solo on Up in the Morning (on Andy's Ramble) is without equal... AMAZING!

Nov-23-2010, 2:52am
This was a fantastic interview! Andy gave very detailed well thought out answers to our questions. Big Thanks to one of my Mando heros!


Skip Kelley
Nov-23-2010, 12:40pm
Andy, thank you for such a wonderful interview and your willingness to share with us!!

George R. Lane
Nov-23-2010, 12:54pm
Even though I am not a fan of jazz music, I am totally blown away by Andy. His right hand does things mine can only dream about. He pulls such feelings in his playing that only a few people could ever hope of achieving. I will be downloading his music to help inspire me to better things. Thanks for the interview

Nov-23-2010, 3:39pm
Andy is a real mandolin inspiration to me. Thanks for participating in the interviews!


Nov-23-2010, 4:32pm
Andy will be teaching at this year's Mandolin Symposium! How cool is that?!

He has been there twice before.......I took as many of his classes as I could.

Nov-24-2010, 2:26pm
Awesome interview with one of the most emotional/spiritual musicians of any discipline.

John Hill
Nov-24-2010, 6:25pm
Andy is like John Coltrane; you have to be willing to go with him wherever he goes but man is it worth it. Amazing ideas and execution. Andy's playing also reminds me of the Chick Corea Akoustik Band I saw in concert a long time ago where Chick said to the crowd, "You need your melody radars on tonight."

Nov-24-2010, 6:28pm
right you are John... good post. really dig the Picasso "Woman With a Mandolin". Just saw that at MOMA a few months ago... one of my faves... duh!

Jim Roberts
Nov-24-2010, 6:59pm
Amazing, creative musician and cool dude. I especially like his beanie. Reminds me of the one's from the 60's...he just needs a propeller on top! Thanks Andy and MC.

Nov-24-2010, 7:27pm
Amazing ideas and execution.

Chorus after chorus of amazing ideas.......like a stream......music just flows out of him.
It "is" like a spiritual experience ........as he taps into the source, somewhere between inspiration and intellect......and the ideas flow....... on either of his chosen instruments.

Man of Wax
Nov-27-2010, 2:39pm
Huge fan of Andy. A wild man on the mandolin, who comes by it honestly. Steeped in every tradition, and a creator of his own.

I played Flatbush Waltz for my parents' 30th anniversary. They were in tears. Thanks for being an inspiration, Andy!

Jim Roberts: His "beanie" is called, in Hebrew, a kipah (kee-pa) or, in Yiddish, a yarmulke (yam-u-ka). It's a head-covering that more observant Jews wear to signify recognition of god "above" and as a kind of uniform.

Jim Roberts
Nov-27-2010, 3:12pm
Man of Wax: Thanks for the clarification...we see alot of hats worn for religious reasons here in Kansas, too. Lots of staunch Lutherans and observant Mennonites around. No "uniforms" though...a few robes here and there and an occasional toga on campus. I saw a few Shriner's with some crazy looking hats similar to Andy's (but a bit more pronounced on top) at a parade a few weeks ago that may signify some sort of religious recognition like you describe but what that recognition is is beyond me but perhaps it has something to do with a "being from above." Or, it may have something to do with the liquid they were consuming from their flasks!

Regardless of hat, beanie, yarmaduke, etc., styles, Andy certainly is gifted and we all benefit from the talent he shares with us.

Nov-27-2010, 5:39pm
From this article: http://www.jtnews.net/index.php?/news/item/8092/C48/

His spiritual life is as an Orthodox Jew, at home in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, not far from where he grew up in Queens. As a kid going to Hebrew school, he was hungry for music and roots, but not traditionally observant. These days, he doesn’t hide his observance. “The way I dress is the way I dress,” says the man who now goes everywhere in a black velvet kippa, white shirt, black pants, dangling tzitzit, and the occasional black hat. “Just being a frum [traditionally observant] person, this is the world me and my family live in. I’ve never put on a costume for jobs that I played. I came up playing music in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The way we dressed offstage was the way we dressed onstage. I’m there to play the music and that’s what it’s about.”

Nov-27-2010, 9:07pm
Great interview with one of the great mando-heroes. FYI- for those who may have been mystified by the caption under the photo right above "gear facts," a "yortzeit seudah" (also yahrzeit) means a meal (seudah) held on the anniversary of a death, in this case, of a rebbe, or leading spiritual teacher, of the Hassidic group or court known as Modzitzer. (You can google that word if you want more info.)

Regarding the kipah- or headcovering- it's a practice with Biblical roots which became a symbol of Jewish reverence as early as the Babylonian exile. (Circa 200-500's CE.)

Just FYI, adding to the discussion. . . .


Scott Tichenor
Nov-28-2010, 12:33pm
Here's a very nice feature NPR did on Andy a few years back that some of you will enjoy:


This may answer some of the questions being asked. If you ever have a chance to see him in person, you owe it to yourself to do so. It's a remarkable experience to be in the same room with him and he's a very genuinely wonderful person to speak to. I hope to make it back to the Village to see him in the next year.

Mandolin Cafe
Nov-21-2017, 9:20am
Noting the anniversary of the publication of this interview (https://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_001275.shtml). If you haven't listened to the streaming MP3 in the article, it might alter your paradigm.

Mandolin Cafe
Nov-21-2018, 7:46am
Another anniversary for this interview with one of the true treasures in the mandolin (and clarinet) world!

Nov-21-2018, 8:18pm
Andy Statman is still one of my heroes. Superheroes.

Nov-22-2018, 8:17am
This guy is just plain incredible,,he's been one of my big influences since I first heard him in the '70's.

Nov-24-2018, 12:20pm
It is Andy's iconic solo on "Oh Susanna" with the Peter Rowan band that I will always be grateful for. Thank you for that whacky tack on the mandolin's part. Dark green my friend, dark green! Blessings

Apr-02-2019, 9:46am
His solo on Black Mountain Rag from Fiddle Tunes for Banjo Rounder album from 1981 is unbelievable innovative!