Behind the Bridge

behindthebridge.jpg (3443 bytes)Behind the Bridge
Andy Narell

Due to be released September 15 Behind The Bridge, Andy Narell’s ninth recording as a leader, delivers a melting pot of Pan-American sounds. This release finds Narell at his finest as both musician and producer, blending the steel pan music of Trinidad with elements of American jazz and adding touches of Cuban rumba, Brazilian samba, and other island and South American rhythms. Percussionists Luis Conte and Paulinho da Costa and pianist Dario Eskenazi are prominently featured on Narell’s new recording, with additional assistance from guitarists Kleber Jorge and Steve Erquiaga and drummer Paul Van Wageningen.

Behind The Bridge

contains one Narell-penned song (“Sea of Stories”), but its remaining eight tracks are inventive interpretations of works by such composers as the late Cuban pianist Ernesta Lecuona and Brazil’s “founding father of samba,” Alfredo da Rocha Viana, Jr. (better known as Pixinguinha). Most were recorded live with no overdubbing.

According to Narell, the new album’s title was inspired by an isolated area on the lower east side of Port of Spain, Trinidad, which was settled in the 1830s by former slaves and where the African tradition of drumming flourished despite being banned by the island’s British rulers. Early in the 20th century, the area “behind the bridge”‘ became one of the birthplaces of the steel pan.

Andy Narell was first drawn to steel pan music at age seven, when his father worked with inner city youth to organize steel bands at a New York community center. As a teenager, he began playing the steel pan professionally, and since 1966, has frequently traveled to Trinidad to meet, study and perform with the music’s pioneers.

In addition to his work as a solo artist, Narell is recognized for his performances with the critically-acclaimed Caribbean Jazz Project, which also includes Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Samuels. The group’s eponymous debut album (1995) and subsequent recording Island Stories (1997) were also released by Heads Up International.

Andy Narell’s Behind The Bridge is an enhanced CD featuring video, sound bytes, biographical information, graphics, and free internet access, as do most releases fron Head’s Up.