contemporary funk & jazz guitarist
The inspiring title of guitarist/composer Keith Andrew’s highly anticipated new full length album Adventurous Soul speaks not only to the exciting, thrill a minute musical journey the 13 tracks take the listener on, but also to the personal life and spirit of the man himself. An avid outdoorsman, he loves hiking, scampering on rocks and mountain biking. For their honeymoon, he and his wife Suzie traveled to Thailand and Cambodia, where they explored 12th Century Buddhist and Hindu Ruins that are one of the Seven Wonders of the World. More recently, they hiked a 15,000 foot mountain near Quito, Ecuador and trekked up to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Andrew brings the same sort of wild, freewheeling spirit to the new project, which features a multitude of stylistic excursions centered around his crisp, high energy guitar lines, infectious melodies and in the pocket, funky grooves. With six tracks produced by top genre hit maker and fellow guitarist Nils and others co-produced by Andrew with Nils, Adventurous Souldraws on Andrew’s foundational love for blues, rock, jazz and fusion while also exploring his musical wanderlust for Latin and world music.
Complementing the 11 originals (mostly penned by Andrew, Nils or a collaboration of the two) are explosive re-imaginings of R&B classics by The Isley Brothers (“Work To Do”) and James Brown (“Pass The Peas”). While inviting many of the regional musicians he works with in Northern California to create the foundational tracks – including some of the band members from his former longtime group Himalaya on “Pass The Peas” – Andrew and Nils brought out some of the genre’s big guns to take these powerhouse tunes over the top. These include saxophonists Jessy J and Eric Marienthal, keyboardist Jeff Lorber and some of the last-ever sessions by late drummer Ricky Lawson. The multi-talented Johnny Britt adds his mad skills both on vocals (on “Work To Do” and others) as well as trumpet and flugelhorn.
Andrew’s previous albums include Contemplation (2007) and Blue Funky Blue (2010), whose single “Pookie’s Groove Revisited” received significant airplay. He worked diligently onAdventurous Soul while performing gigs in the Sonoma and Napa Valley wine country and throughout Northern California. As he continues thriving as a performer at wineries, casinos and festivals, he has upped his game considerably as an independent smooth jazz artist by working with Nils, whose expertise has taken Andrew’s Adventurous Soul to the next level. The two first met at one of Nils’ gigs at Spaghettini, a prominent jazz club in Seal Beach, CA.
“I’ve been a fan of Nils’ music for a long time and was happy to discover that he has a similar background as a jazz and rock fusion player,” says Andrew. “Our influences are so similar. The cool thing about working with him is that even though he’s a guitarist himself and contributed some backing parts, he was very objective about my playing and focused on making me shine and bringing out the best in me. We live in different parts of California, so often I would send him rough mixes of new songs I was working on. He would tweak them and send them back quickly and blew me away with his sonic magic every time. I started call him my ‘GG’ – German Genius!”
FROM THE BEGINNING
Originally from Baltimore, Keith began playing guitar at 10 years old and as teenager moved with his family to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was exposed to the rich and diverse SF music scene. His musical passions eventually led him to Los Angeles, where he had the opportunity to study with some of the world’s greatest jazz and contemporary guitarists, including Robben Ford, Joe Pass, Buzz Fieten, Scott Henderson and Joe Diorio.
While attending college in Los Angeles, Keith was a featured soloist with the Chaffey College Jazz Ensemble, earning several awards for outstanding musicianship from the National Association of Jazz Educators. He later went on to attend the world-renowned Guitar Institute of Technology. Graduating at the top of his class, he subsequently joined the faculty as a staff instructor. Shortly after graduating from the Guitar Institute, Keith teamed with keyboardist and composer Morris Beeks, with whom he formed the jazz/R&B band Himalaya. The Himalaya sound was soon defined by Keith's unique compositions, which made them one of the most popular and dynamic groups on the L.A. circuit. Himalaya’s debut album Friend to Friend received national airplay. Shortly thereafter, they embarked on a nationwide tour with notable appearances at the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival as well as major nightclubs and venues in New York, Washington D.C., Memphis and San Diego.
Since moving back to the Bay Area, Keith’s style has gravitated towards world jazz fusion. His taste for world music was also inspired by performing at some of the top bay area venues with the popular South African band Zulu Spear. It was with that band the he teamed up with two great musicians from Austin Texas, multi-instrumentalists and producers, Cecil (P-Nut) Daniels and Carlton Lowe, who have been at the core of many of Keith's SF based recording and live performance projects. They have also formed the popular groups Sound Minds and P-Nut and The Apocalypse.