Andy McKee

Born: November 11, 1953    Primary Instrument: Bass

Andy McKee

Whether you are talking about Andy McKee’s bass playing or his way of moving through life, three words say it - strength, passion and artistry. Having performed for twenty-five years with many jazz greats, his reputation stretches from his home base of New York, across the United States, to Europe and Japan. The deep resonance of Andy’s sound adds unmistakable dimension to every band he plays in. His impeccable time, musicianship and capacity for rhythmic invention were forged over years of in-the-trenches experience with many legendary jazz masters.

Andy’s hard-swinging approach evolved naturally from his formative years on Philadelphia’s jazz scene. Musicians like Hank Mobley, Johnny Hartman, Slide Hampton, and Clarence “Cee” Sharp provided a nurturing environment for him and other young players. Philly Joe Jones, in particular, was an important mentor. “Philly was like my musical father. I was really just starting out when he said, ’Come on. You’re with me’.” McKee adds, “We didn’t talk much about what we were playing; we just hung with the music. I learned through a sort of musical osmosis.” Of touring the US and Canada in 1979-1980, Andy says “Working side by side with Philly Joe was a unique and powerful opportunity to explore the language of jazz. And he brought such a personal sense of finesse and class to everything he did on and off the bandstand.”...
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“With a galvanizing postmodern mix suggesting both the discipline of Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the openness of Ornette’s Harmolodicians, the band [Andy McKee & NEXT] draws us in with a seductively intimate sound.” Chuck Berg Jazz Times - November 1997

“You hear all that on Sound Roots, which features McKee’s quintet, NEXT. Both as a dynamic composer and fearless, resourceful arranger... McKee consistently turns to the unexpected, keeping the listener happily surprised.” Zan Stewart DOWN BEAT - December 1997

“Throughout, bassist Andy McKee was the relatively silent, guiding force...” John Ephland DOWN BEAT - December 1997

“McKee was entrusted with the largest shoes to fill... his ability to jump smoothly from steady foundation to avant-garde catalyst was outstanding.” Rob Hubbard St. Paul Pioneer Press - April 17, 1997

“[the Mingus Big Band]... faultlessly anchored by the lithe bass of Andy McKee. Chris Parker The Times (London) - March 14, 1997

“Andy McKee... was faultless, and deserves much credit for sustaining the on-the-edge Mingus atmosphere.” Bob Blumenthal Boston Globe - November 11, 1996

“Andy McKee responds commendably to being in one of the hottest seats in jazz history—-Mingus’.” Bill Shoemaker Jazz Times - November 1995

“The energy, the vigor of Petrucciani’s attack was consistently matched by bassist Andy McKee...” Chip Deffaa New York Post - September 23,1993

“Aside from [Elvin] Jones, the strongest echo of Coltrane’s classic quartet was raised by bassist Andy McKee...” Bob Blumenthal Boston Globe - August 24, 1992

“...Admirable.” Leonard Feather Los Angeles Times - May 11, 1988

“...bassist Andy McKee fit the quartet well, playing much in the spirit of Jimmy Garrison and leaving Elvin enough space for his powerful swing.” Alexander Ivansky Jazz Forum - April 1986

As a Leader

Sound Roots
Tracks: Top Hat; All Blues; Sound Roots; Andrea; 56 Blows; Inner Circle; Blues Interrogation; U- Turn; Hilltop Stomp; In A Perfect World.
Personnel: Ed Cherry: guitar; Alex Foster: saxophones; Ryan Kisor: trumpet; Billy Kilson: drums; Hamiet Bluiett: baritone sax; Andy McKee: bass.

andy mckee // one world
Tracks: Finders Keepers; Folk Song; Accolades; Losers Weepers; Ife's Dance; Fire Sign; Earth Sign; Deep in Boston/Max is Max; Prayer.
Personnel: Alex Foster: saxophones; Joe Locke: vibraphone & marimba; Idris Muhammad: drums; Badal Roy: tabla; Milton Cardonna: conga, percussion; Kenny Werner: piano; Andy McKee: bass.

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Andy McKee plays a bass made by August Bernardel circa 1841 and endorses Pirastro strings. Pick-ups include the Realist and an ATM35 microphone.

A Warwick "Thumb" bass is top pick for electrified settings.

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Featured recording “One World”

One World
CAP (2002)

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