Andy McKee the American Fingerstyle Guitar player

Having preformed twenty-five years with one of the greatest jazz guitar players, Andy McKee’s reputation had spread from his home in America to the Land of the Rising Sun also know as Japan. The unique sound and resonance can make you go in awe from just hearing the intro. The rhythm and bass playing of Andy is exceptionally incredible, which is the reason why he is so well known. This is the experience that he gained over years with the legendary jazz players.

Andy’s approach had evolved during the Philadelphia Jazz scene. He and other young players were nurtured by the influence of the musicians like Slide Hampton, Hank Mobley, Johnny Hartman, and Clarence “Cee”Sharp. Phily Joe Jones was a mentor for Andy, he also considered him as his musical father. Andy said “Philly was like my musical father… We didn’t talk much about what we were playing; we just hung with the music.  I learned through a sort of musical osmosis.” Touring the USA 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.”

Andy debuted with The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine at the Village Vanguard in 1983. This is one of the major influences that effect the development of Andy’s music. He played as the bassist in the group during the tour in Europe, the Middle East, and in New York City. “Elvin was a genius.  It took a while for me to understand how to interact with the circular quality of his playing.  It demanded total commitment to the downbeat.  I gained great confidence when I realized that Elvin Jones wanted me to set him up.  And when I got it, he turned and gave me that smile…” said Andy.

With the experience he had gained throughout all those years, he had made his style of play into a unique kind of finger style guitar with a percussive beat that corresponds with the rhythm of the song he plays. The percussive beats or effects are made by hitting the string or the parts of the guitar. This technique was used by Preston Reed, and influences the way Andy plays the guitar. His original composition Drifting became a featured video on YouTube and MySpace, where he applied the percussive technique which made it so popular. The creativity and technique that Andy puts into his music is very colorful. For those who are interested in the acoustic sound of the guitar, or trying something new with how you play the guitar, then you should check Andy out.

Christian, Benedict

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