Blue Moon Award logo

Andy Narell

If you're as fond of Andy Narell's steel-drum Jazz à la Fire in the Engine Room, Behind the Bridge and Down the Road as I, you'll likewise have rather impatiently waited out the years for Dis 1. 4. Raf to drop. This glorious and gloriously generous release of thirteen very long tracks is a two-set album with Andy's Parisian quintet of pianist Janysett McPherson, Cuban and Guadeloupe percussionists Inor Sotolongo and Gregory Louis and bassist Thierry Fanfant. The second set becomes a duo between Andy and Janysett. As the liner notes explain, the Afro-Caribbean styles visited include calypso, soca, biguine, son montuno and rumba. With that, this entire gig puts a lie to the notion that white men can't dance. If your body doesn't twitch and shimmy listening to this, you're comatose already. But not only is this infectious fare played between long-time collaborators to be incredibly in the pocket, the tunes build out over long arcs in typically inspired Narell fashion. This is expert story telling from a true master, set to the sunny carefree vibes of the islands. It's unapologetically happy music but very sophisticated at that. Or as I'd put it far more succinctly: "Yo – Andy Narell is baaack!"