Chances are that if you love Jamaican Reggae Music then you’ve heard the legendary guitarist and bassist Andy Bassford play. From the nostalgic Horace and Andy’s 1977 classic “In the Light” to 2018’s Sting/Shaggy duet “44/876” Andy has recorded or performed with reggae artists from the Abyssinians to Zap Pow. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Andy was classically trained on violin and viola. He then taught himself harmonica, electric bass, mandolin, and tenor banjo. Inspired by seeing B.B. King on TV, Andy switched to guitar.
A quick study, Andy was playing in rock bars before he could drink in them. But when Andy saw the Jimmy Cliff film “The Harder They Come” at college in 1973, he immediately fell in love with reggae. Andy soon discovered that Hartford’s large Jamaican community had its own record shops and reggae bands. He joined one, the Mighty Venturians, the week he graduated from college.
Now he’s going to bring his Jazz and Blues passion to Footprints Café Coney Island in 2019. On Sunday, January 13 Andy and the Jazz Conspiracy will perform every Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. – right after the popular Caribbean restaurant’s knock-out all-you-can-eat “Caribbean Sunday Brunch” that starts at 11:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. Called “Footprints Café’s Classic Sunday Retro Jazz,” this event will be an ongoing “every Sunday” thing.
Outside of reggae, Andy has recorded with Rihanna, Natalie Merchant, Bobby Keys, Graham Haynes, Felix da Housecat, Matt Andersen, and Adam Pascal. He has performed with Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Lavern Baker, and Rosco Gordon. Based in the Bronx, Andy performs with Jamaican jazz master Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express and reggae bass legend Derrick Barnett’s Statement Band, plays sessions, and teaches.
“We’re very excited about having such a living musical Reggae and jazz legend play for the Footprints Café Family at our Coney Island location. Apart from bringing high-quality Jazz by experienced musicians, it our way for saying to the community – We Care About You. This is about Footprints Café being a responsible and reliable corporate community partner,” said Linden Clarke, Regional General Manager, Footprints Café.
In January 1981, Andy joined Lloyd Parks and We The People Band. The group toured with Dennis Brown, did sessions, and played marathon stage shows and dances. It was an unparalleled learning experience. During this period Andy also kept up a busy session schedule, recording with Sly and Robbie, the Wailers, and most of the other major reggae producers and artists in Jamaica.
Returning to the US in 1985 for family reasons, Andy stayed with Dennis Brown until 1988. Between tours, Andy recorded for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One until the latter’s passing in 2004. He spent twenty-two years with Toots and the Maytals, culminating in 2004’s Grammy-winning “True Love” album. Andy has also toured with Yellowman, Super Cat, and the Skatalites. In 2003, the Jamaica Federation of Musicians honored Andy for Outstanding Contributions to the Jamaican Music Industry.
After decades as a first call reggae sideman/session player, guitarist Andy Bassford makes his solo debut with “The Harder They Strum,” a largely instrumental, jamming tribute to the seminal movie “The Harder They Come.” Recorded mostly live in the studio with a world class cast, “The Harder They Strum” is virtuosic, fun, and accessible. It’s perfect party music with a big, full sound and superb production values. “The Harder They Strum” also hangs together as a listening experience. It features rich, textured arrangements, varied instrumentation, lots of improvisation, and a coherent flow from start to finish.
“I very excited to be playing for the Footprints Café Family, Friends and Fans! I promise that we’ll make sure that we bring our trademark standard of excellence and high quality Jazz that will keep people coming back for more – over and over again. See you on the 13th!” Andy said.
For more information please contact Michael Roberts of CommonSense Strategies Group, LLc, Footprints Café’s Marketing Agency consultant at (347) 279-6668 or email info@CSG2017.com. (www.CSG2017.com )