Narell, Andy

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Narell, Andy

Narell, Andy, American steel drummer; b. N.Y., March 18, 1954. He was introduced to the steel drums (pans) when his social-worker father started steel orchestras as a way of reducing tensions among street gangs in N.Y.C. Since then he has used his formidable technique on this unique instrument to bring it into the jazz fold without neglecting its Caribbean roots. A graduate of Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley, he formed his own label (Hip Pocket) to bring his recordings into the marketplace. He later contracted with Windham Hill, a label known more for new age music than jazz. This broadened his audience base while unfairly trivializing his abilities as an outstanding jazz player among unforgiving jazz “cognoscenti” His links with Windham Hill and Heads Up enabled him to hone his skills as a producer. On the pop side, he has produced albums for the Bobs and Jimmy Haslip. Narell is also an in-demand session musician, appearing on numerous dates, including releases from Patti LaBelle, Les McCann, and Paquito D’Rivera.


Stickman (1981); Slow Motion (1985); Light in Your Eyes (1989); Little Secrets (1989); Different Strokes (1991); Down the Road (1992); The Bach Variations (1994); The Long Time Band (1995); The Caribbean Jazz Project (1995).

—Garaud MacTaggart