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Presented by the Jewish Cultural Studies Program at Monmouth University.
Had there been a planetarium in 19th-century Galicia, or a kosher
deli in Depression-era Kentucky, Andy Statman’s music might have been
playing in the background. Meandering through time, geography and
culture in a few passionate, organic gusts of music, neither the man nor
his inimitable hybrid sound has a very clearly defined “before” or
“after.” Statman, one of his generation’s premier
mandolinists and clarinetists, thinks of his compositions as “a
spontaneous, American-roots form of very personal, prayerful Hasidic
music, by way of avant-garde jazz.”
This modest man takes for granted that a performer might embody
several worlds in his art, and seems not to recognize that his music,
like his story, is extraordinary. It’s a story Statman rewrites with his
trio every time they perform: “We’re creating an experience between the
audience and us.” Statman performs his distinctive, unconstrained
meditations on jazz, klezmer, bluegrass and the human soul with bassist
Jim Whitney and percussionist Larry Eagle. “At a certain point, we’re
just talking, just having a threeway conversation.” This “conversation”
changes each time they have it on stage, no melody sounding quite the
same as it did before, and none bearing the definitive stamp of the
genre that spawned it. A totally unselfconscious performer, Statman does
not mind that many audiences leave slightly befuddled as to what kind
of music, exactly, they have just heard.