Andy Mason is a multi-instrumentalist who writes in a variety of styles. His latest release – Blues for Your Grass – is a collection of rootsy rock and roll and acoustic numbers named in honor of the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Mason grew up there, drumming in rock and roots oriented bands for over a decade (and fronting his own projects on guitar) before turning his energies to the piano.
Over the next several years he explored New Orleans piano and jazz in cocktail gigs, while playing with the Swells and the Big Maracas. His 2008 CD Illumination featured the band Club Dub as rhythm section and an array of stylistic approaches, followed in 2011 by Off Camera – a more focused collection with moody pop tendencies. The new CD Blues for Your Grass was largely self recorded and performed, with one track featuring the Tallboys (who also lent their talents to Off Camera).
In 2013 Mason relocated to NYC and began studying composition and arranging at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, writing instrumental pieces for big band, chamber groups, and orchestra. He's since studied with distinguished composer Dalit Warshaw and Grammy winning artist Arturo O’Farrill, receiving a Masters in Composition in 2018.
In his 20's Mason was the drummer and harmonist with the Blueberries, drumming occasionally with a variety of other bands including Paul K. & the Weathermen. In the late 90's he opened a tour for Michelle Shocked in a trio with Wilco alum and Gourds member Max Johnston. In 2000 Mason became a midday Host and DJ at WRVG - a public radio station mixing roots music and AAA programming in Central Kentucky. He shifted into a full time piano gig in 2003, which continued through 2011. During this time he collaborated with Azniv Korkejian (Bedouine) in a piano/vocal duo, playing classic jazz and favorites from the New Orleans repertoire.
Academics and Awards
Since beginning studies at Brooklyn College in 2013, Mason has been Composer in Residence with multiple ensembles: the BC Guitar Ensemble in 2017, the Conservatory Orchestra in 2016, and the BC Conservatory Big Band in 2015. He is the recipient of the 2018 Noah Creshevsky Award in experimental music, and the 2016 Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music Award "for imaginative cross-cultural exploration."
Mason's music has been featured in the 2018 Composers Now festival in NYC, the 2015 Choreo/Comp showcase at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, a 2014 Brooklyn production of Becky Shaw, and the independent films Its the Fuller Brush Man (2017) and Hitting the Cycle (2012). He also contributed music to the documentary Diana's Hair Ego REMIX for Day Without Art 2017.
While music has been the main focus over the years, Andy also produces work as a painter, print-maker, and photographer.
for Off Camera:
"An expert pop outing full of deftly played, articulately written and crisply produced songs. Imagine the cunning songcraft and vocal finesse of Squeeze's early-'80s records but with arrangements that favor a more traditional, almost parlor-style pop setting, and you have an idea..."
- Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexgo.com)