Andy Jaffe

First reviews of “Arc”

From Richard Kamins’ blog: says:

“…Andy Jaffe Nonet + 4 is a long-awaited gem from this classy composer, arranger, and first-class pianist.”

From”Arc by Mark Corroto”

It is difficult to get past the opening, and title track, to Andy Jaffe’s Nonet recording Arc. The reason being, it is a flawless piece of music as it is written, arranged and performed. There is just something about this little waltz that is cinematic, in both the sense that it feels like the soundtrack to a classic film and that it also projects a narrative in the mind. Jaffe weaves the Taiwanese Interestring Quartet into the seamless piece, but more about that later.

Could the remainder of the recording of the recording maintain the same level?

Jaffe, a pianist, composer, and educator has co-led the Bill Lowe-Andy Jaffe Repertory Big Band for decades now. His previous Playscape release was Mahattan Projections (2001), which was a re-release of a 1984 session with his former pupils, Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith.

Roney returns here alongside heavyweight saxophonist Jimmy Greene. Many listeners may be drawn by the two players, but both surrender any grandstanding in service to Jaffe and the music. Besides, the solos provided by fellow saxophonists Tom Olin, and Kris Allen are also quite exceptional.

The punch of “Brainworn” recalls those early 1960s Blue Note sessions where Alfred Lion was pleased when his artists inserted a swinging blues into a recording date. Jaffe includes two pieces he wrote for Max Roach‘s Double Quartet in the early 1980s. “Steve Biko,” for the anti-apartheid activist and “Theme for the New Sixties. ” Both pieces integrate a string quartet, not as an add-on, but a congruent piece of Jaffe’s musical geometry. Both pieces maintain a forward momentum, with the string quartet ushered by bassist Marty Jaffe, and bass clarinetist Bruce Williamson.

Jaffe borrows a fragment of Duke Ellington‘s “Fleurette Africaine” to build his “Fleurette Chinoise,” and arranges a carpet of nonet flourish as background to the soloists. “Go Down Moses,” arranged for the saxophone quartet of Bruce Williamson soprano, Tom Olin baritone, Kris Allen alto, and Jimmy Greene switching to tenor, reveals just how lithe and graceful a sax quartet can be. Jaffe’s arrangement takes on the heavy music with a sound light as a feather.

Track Listing: Arc; Brainworm; Steve Biko; In Case this is Goodbye; Fear of the Dark (miedo a la obscuridad); Fleurette Chinoise; Go Down Moses; Theme for the New Sixties; Now ThenPersonnel: Andy Jaffe: piano; Wallace Roney: trumpet; John Clark: french horn; Kris Allen: alto saxophone; Jimmy Greene: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bruce Williamson: bass clarine, soprano saxophone; Tom Olin: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone; Marty Jaffe: bass; Jonathan Barber: drums; Wei- Jun Huang: 1st violin; Wei-Hsin Liu: 2nd violin; Chiee Yeh: viola; Jiro Yeh: cello.”

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

From Downbeat (April 2016), p. 54 Andy Jaffe Nonet + 4,  Arc (Playscape 062315; 66:12) ****

“…A trip to Taiwan and an immersion into that country’s richly syncretic musical culture were the impetus for Arc, an inspired new album by pianist/composer Andy Jaffe. Here, the leader has penned a nine-piece program for a lithe nonet of jazz veterans, including the unflappable trumpeter Wallace Roney and the melodious tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene. Jaffe…writes with a Gil Evans-like ear for harmony and motion. His songs can move with a springy agility (“Brainworm”), or settle profoundly like a dense fog (“In Case This Is Goodbye”). Others, like “Go Down Moses” (for saxophone quartet), approach the sanctity of a hymn. Whatever the mood, the overall sound is one of graceful precision.”

From Italy   “…From start to finish…you feel like behind the desk there is a real master to write and to arrange, a veteran whose soloists lend their voices to achieve a high level disk where writing and solos are the right balance”….

Top 30 releases on Jazz After Hours:


“…On April 19th, Playscape Recordings will release Arc (PSR#062315), the latest offering from veteran pianist/composer Andy Jaffe and his Nonet + 4. Jaffe’s nonet features Wallace Roney on trumpet, John Clark on French horn, Kris Allen on alto saxophone, Jimmy Greene on tenor and soprano saxophone, Bruce Williamson on bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, Tom Olin on tenor, soprano and baritone saxophone, Marty Jaffe on bass and Jonathon Barber on drums. In addition to the nonet, Jaffe’s + 4 comprises Taiwan’s Golden Melody Award nominated Interestring Quartet, with Wei-Jun Huang on first violin, Wei-Hsin Liu on second violin, Chiee Yeh on the viola and Jiro Yeh on cello. Arc is Jaffe’s second release on the Playscape Recordings label following the 2001 reissue of his Manhattan Projections.

It was during his trip in the fall of 2015 to teach and perform in Taiwan that Jaffe decided to pursue his long-time interest in recording a collection of previously composed material, along with some more recent compositions. Jaffe’s exploration of cultural commonalities as they relate to jazz resulted in music rich with sounds and rhythms from Balkan, West African, and Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian musics, skillfully conveyed in Jaffe’sTheme for the New Sixties originally written and performed by the Max Roach Double Quartet around 1980, as well as in new compositions such asFleurette Chinoise, a 3-note melodic fragment borrowed from the bridge of Ellington’s Fleurette Africaine.

Andy Jaffe has been an active jazz composer, performer, recording artist and jazz educator for more than three decades and has appeared as a guest lecturer, artist and conductor in Germany, Slovakia, New Zealand, Malta, and France, among many other places around the globe. During the past 38 years, Jaffe’s teaching gigs included stints at the Berklee College of Music, the Institut Musical de formation Professionelle in Nimes, France and the Afro-American Music and Jazz program at UMASS Amherst. He has also been on the faculty at Tufts University, Amherst and Smith Colleges, and the Tainan (Taiwan) National University of the Arts, among many other institutions. He is presently the Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence in Jazz, former Director of Jazz Activities and former Artistic Director of the Williamstown Jazz Festival at Williams College, teaching courses in jazz theory, improvisation, arranging and composition, the history of jazz composition and on the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. He also teaches at the low residency MFA program in Music Composition at The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

For more information contact Robin MacLeod, press and radio promotion
(413) 567-7967 /

Learn more about Playscape Recordings and its releases at

More listening on my youtube channel
Besides the Dropbox MP3 Sampler you can check out three of my previous CDs on my youtube channel:

Double Helix –

An Imperfect Storm –

Manhattan Projections —

Youtubes from Sextet Taipei Jazz Festival July 18th
Here are some youtubes of our Sextet’s July 18 performance at Da’an Park in Taipei
(Festival FB site)

Check out the “Bill Lowe Andy Jaffe Repertory Big Band” page for youtube videos to our 25th Anniversary Concert in 2011

Also please note that “Manhattan Projections” has been re-released on PARMA recordings (see also “online resources” below). If you’d like to obtain a copy of the original release, feel free to email me ( Also contact me if you would like a copy of the piano duo recording with Tom McClung (“Double Helix”).


Woodwind Quintet Released
I am honored to announce that my Three Movement Woodwind Quintet has been released on Darryl Harper’s most recent CD:
The Need’s Got to Be So Deep (HiPNOTIC records). See also Current/Recent projects.

Premiere of “Every Day Blues” by the Berkshire Symphony
On November 2nd 2012 The Berkshire Symphony, under the direction of Ronald L. Feldman, premiered “Every Day Blues”, my 20 minute orchestral tribute to the late Dr. Ernest Brown.

Click on the “DropBox” MP3 sampler and you can hear a recording of this performance!

Three New Reviews of the Manhattan Projections re-release

The “Manhattan Projections” CD has been re-released, including bonus tracks from the Tom McClung-Andy Jaffe piano duo recording. Here are links to three recent reviews:
first, a new review of MANHATTAN PROJECTIONS over at the Gapplegate Music Review:

second, in the online magazine PopMatters. You can read it here:

finally this one: MusicWeb International’s new jazz review section. You can read it here:

25th Anniversary Concert – Part 1

25th Anniversary Concert – Part 2

24 for Elvin The Bill Lowe Andy Jaffe Big Band

More about Andy Jaffe

link to current projects

Former Director of Jazz Ensembles at Williams College; and The Williamstown Jazz Festival; Currently Senior Lecturer in Music, Williams College Department of Music

Member, Board of Directors, BerkshiresJazz.Org

Re-release of the large ensemble CD, “An Imperfect Storm” on Parma Recordings:

Here’s a link to a recent review of the CD:

Now available from Advance Music (or their US distributors: Jamey Aebersold ( and Kendor (, my new jazz composition book: “Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Principles of Jazz Composition” (see also link for “Jazz Harmony” under “online resources below).

Online Resources

Use this link to Order “Jazz Harmony“, third edition, directly from Advance Music
(or you may find it quicker to order it from their US and Canadian distributors here:
Jamey Aebersold (, or Kendor (

Sextet CD NOTE: “Manhattan Projections” has been re-released by PARMA recordings.

To Order the rerelease of “An Imperfect Storm”, Large Ensemble CD by Parma Records, go to:

To Order “Double Helix” Piano Duo CD with Tom McClung
go to or click on the paypal link.

Click here to purchase Andy Jaffe CD’s or the Andy Jaffe Fakebook with Paypal