Meet Andrew Swift, and you will find him to be a quiet, unassuming fellow with a hint of an Aussie accent. While it might come as no surprise that he is a musician, you might not expect him to be a drummer. But his love of percussion was something he was practically born with.
Swift started out his career by banging on his mum’s pots and pans with…of all things, chopsticks. While most of the world was eating with them, he was making music. But, they could not withstand the force of his passion for percussion, and in childhood, he put his thoughts of music into early retirement.
Yet, Andrew found himself in the 5th grade and in a new school that had a band. As he states in his bio, he was delighted to discover that “playing in the school band occasionally meant missing academic class time.” The band’s director let him know that the band needed a drummer, and that reinstated his previous childhood love. He was a drummer after all. His passion overrode any formal career aspirations, and he began to explore a university jazz course of study. Swift completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in music performance at the Australian National University. In 1998, he left Australia and traveled halfway around the world to settle in New York. He found himself a day job as a music and technology teacher at the Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe. On a daily basis, his love and passion for music is imparted to many young minds. He also leads the kids in a jazz group, using computers in addition to instruments!
But it is on weekends and at night that Swift really shines. His “gig schedule” is enough to make one dizzy, and he plays at venues in Manhattan and here in Westchester. Over the years, Swift has considered himself lucky to share the stage with some of his most admired jazz counterparts, including George Cables, Wycliffe Gordon, Sharel Cassity and Michael Deese among many others. He is currently the drummer in the Matt Garrison Project and also the Sharel Cassity Quintet.
But the crowning glory of Swift’s career, having been in the works for the past several months, will be debuted on April 17, 2012. On that day, Andrew’s new CD, entitled SWIFT KICK, will be officially released. Andrew was good enough to get a copy into my hands…and it is an absolute Jazz Joy to listen to! Of the several tracks on the Album, my two favorites are a song called “Sherin”…a song written by Swift for his beautiful wife. My other favorite is Swift’s arrangement of “Alfie”, a classic Bacharach piece written for the movie of the same title, and made famous by such artists as Cher and Dionne Warwick. Swift composed, arranged and helped produce his debut…and even created the artwork for the CD cover itself.
Interested in hearing some great live jazz? You can catch Andrew and company at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street in Manhattan any Sunday from hereon into the spring, from 6-7pm. He will also be appearing at Smalls Jazz Club on February 11, 2012 at 4pm, for 2 sets featuring cuts from his CD. The club is located at 183 W. 10th Street, NY, NY. Or, check him out on March 10, 2012 locally…at the PAC House Theater in New Rochelle at 7:30pm. For more information on Andrew, visit him online, here. Believe me, you won’t want to miss out on this local and incredibly talented fellow from down under!