Born: October 28, 1939 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Singer Andy Bey is one of this country's best-kept secrets as an interpreter of the American songbook. Born on Oct. 28, 1939, in Newark, N.J., Bey was self-taught at the piano, and by the age of 3 could play by ear (he did receive formal lessons in piano and singing later on).
In the early 1950s, Bey got his first real professional exposure with the television show Startime, with Connie Francis. He was with the show for five years. During this time (1953), he sang with Louis Jordan at the Apollo Theatre in New York. With the name Andy and the Bey Sisters, he worked for 10 years with his sisters Geraldine and Salome, touring internationally.
By the early 1970s, Bey was touring with the Thad Jones- Mel Lewis big band (for a year), and doing a fair amount of collaborating, singing in a number of different styles and genres. Artists included Horace Silver, Stanley Clarke and Gary Bartz. His own band, Experience And Judgment, of this time reflected a then-vogue East Indian flavor. He continued to work with Silver into the 1980s, and collaborated with Fred Hersch in 1996. His first American album in 20 years was Ballads Blues And Bey (Evidence, 1996), a recording of tunes by Strayhorn, Ellington, Gershwin and Porter.