Born in Brooklyn but taught bluegrass through mandolin lessons, Andy Statman initially gained recognition in the bluegrass field by working with Country Cooking and co-founding Breakfast Special. His Bill Monroe and Jesse McReynolds influences are especially clear on Andy's Ramble, a 1994 release with Statman supported by an ensemble including Vassar Clements, Kenny Kosek, and Tony Trischka.
Having received considerable acclaim for his mandolin playing, Statman became interested in exploring his Jewish roots and began studying klezmer clarinet (mentored by Dave Tarras), and his subsequent recordings have found him focusing increasingly on the reed instrument, moving from klezmer to expressions of his newfound devotion to orthodox Hasidic Judaism. In 1998, he formed the Andy Statman Quartet with pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Scott Lee, and percussionist Bob Weiner, issuing the neo-klezmer outing The Hidden Light, which was followed by such releases as 2004's Wisdom Understanding Knowledge and On Air, a 2005 album recorded live the preceding year by the Andy Statman Trio (with bassist Jim Whitney and drummer Larry Eagle) for Germany's Radio Bremen.
In 2006 Statman recorded and released two Shefa label CDs that placed the two facets of his musical personality in bold relief: Awakening from Above featured Statman almost exclusively playing clarinet on a set of Jewish devotional music, while East Flatbush Blues found his mandolin skills undiminished on a bluegrass and Americana-focused set, which received a Best Country Instrumental Grammy nomination for Statman’s cover of Bill Monroe’s “Rawhide.” As a sideman, Statman played both clarinet and mandolin on Béla Fleck’s 2008 Grammy-winning holiday album, Jingle All the Way. Old Brooklyn, a star-studded Statman album displaying the many facets of his musical personality, was scheduled for release on Shefa in the fall of 2011. ~ John Bush & Dave Lynch