Andrew Speight’s Bebop Night
Andrew Speight, alto saxophone; Theo Croker, trumpet; Matt Clark, piano;
Eugene Warren, bass; Jaz Sawyer, drums
Wednesday, July 23 | 7:30 pm | Campbell Recital Hall
Tickets: $20 general | $10 students
By phone: 650.725.ARTS (2787); In Person: Stanford
For more information, go to our Ticketing
“Andrew Speight, a clear-toned hard driving
alto saxophonist known for his incendiary bebop lines.” – AllAboutJazz
Bebop is the ultimate musical thrill ride. Inspired by the melodic genius
of Charlie Parker, the wit and brilliance of Dizzy Gillespie, and the
iconoclastic individuality of Thelonious Monk, the bop revolution rewrote
the rules of jazz and spurred musicians on to incredible feats of virtuosity
and creativity. A bebop soloist must think on his feet, carving improvisational
art out of the surging energy of a blistering tempo and sophisticated
harmony, and when it’s done right, it’s breathtaking. Alto
saxophonist Andrew Speight can bop with the best of them. Growing up
in Sydney, Australia, his early exposure to jazz came from his father,
a pianist who often accompanied touring American jazz artists and instilled
in him a deep love of straight-ahead jazz. Speight has worked with the
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Milt Hinton, Branford Marsalis, Jimmy
Cobb, and countless others in performances all over the world. These
days, he is an invaluable asset to the Bay Area jazz scene and a lecturer
at San Francisco State University.
Andrew Speight web site
Q&A with Andrew Speight
What is the first recording you remember hearing
as a child?
As a child I think it was Kind of Blue, that’s the
first jazz recording I
guess...and I remember Peter and the Wolf by Leonard Bernstein,
his version cause that played around the house, but Kind of Blue
was my bedtime stuff, was played when I was put to bed for as long
as I can remember, when I was three or four years old.
Who is your favorite
jazz musician under
the age of 30?
Clifford Brown, Fats
Navarro, Booker Little
– all trumpeters who
died in their twenties –
they never even made
it to 30, but were very
mature in their earlier
playing. This music is
about maturity, and
a lot of players from
the early days made a
good contribution while
still in their twenties,
whereas most players
today are only getting
things together in their
thirties or later.
What is the strangest experience
you’ve ever had on
Well that is a rough one, just because when I was growing up I
played a lot of what we call floor shows. Some of the floor shows
were pretty strange because there would be jugglers, or fireeaters
and all of those kind of things.
What is your favorite food?
All food is good food, I like food! I like to eat a lot! San Francisco,
Sydney all have great food.
What’s the last book you’ve
I read a lot of stuff actually, but it’s all instructional manuals,
that are necessary to day-to-day tasks. What’s the last thing
for fun? I don’t know. I need to read more. I used to read a
If you could play with any other
musician, living or dead (with whom you have not played), who would
it be and why?
I’ve played with a lot of great musicians already, so I’m
that, but would of course like to play with the legendary ones just
the fun of it. The pinnacle would be the jazz geniuses, Bird & Louis;
after that, any of those guys we love, great names like Coltrane and
Miles. I also like the guys I play with regularly, the Generations
- Ronnie Mathews, Eric Alexander (Ronnie just passed unfortunately
a couple of weeks ago). I definitely like working with Jimmy Cobb a
lot, one of my favorite drummers – it’s all good fun!
What’s your favorite thing
about being a Stanford Jazz Workshop faculty member?
Faculty breakfast: Sunday morning breakfast with bagels and
What’s your favorite jazz venue?
Small clubs – I like playing in small jazz clubs where you can play
acoustically, though anywhere that anyone wants to listen to this
music is good.
Who is your greatest musical influence?
Too many…that’s a good question, and a tough one! Early
father’s influence was big - he was a piano player. Also Benny
who was a big influence and a mentor to me. Lots of different people
influenced the way I think about music.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three
recordings with you, what would they be?
Charlie Parker Jam Sessions, 1952 (lot of great musicians on that
one); Miles & Coltrane, Live in Berlin (lot of great musicians
one too) and, for something light and carefree, Bossa Nova with
Cannonball Adderley. Perfect. Is it a deserted island or a desert
island? If it’s a desert island, need to bring some liquid so
to get dehydrated. (Editor’s note: the reference to Live in Berlin
not to the Miles record with Wayne Shorter, but to an earlier vinyl
recording that is currently out-of-print.)
What hobbies do you have?
I used to sail a lot, used to play golf a lot. Don’t do much
now, don’t have the time!
If you were to describe your music as a color, what color would it
be and why?
Red, fiery, lively, hot, all those things - passionate, that’s
is. It’s gotta reach somebody!