“EntreColegas, a flatteringly beautiful album that celebrates the unexplored nooks and crannies of the repertoire of the bass… Andy González brings a daunting command to the instrument in no less a brilliant way that Cachao did in his heyday – a truly joyous evocation of tonal colour and textures that seem impossibly beautiful in the very fleet-footedness of each note, each phrase and exquisite melodic line that González plays throughout. — Raul da Gama – Senior Writer and Editor, Latin Jazz Network
“Entre Colegas is the culmination of fifty years in the music and the people, places and events that made Andy González the iconic bass player he is today. On the surface, the guitars and strings are a departure from what listeners have come to expect, but beneath, it is quintessential Andy, doing what he does best, in the company of family, friends and contemporaries.” — Tomas Peña – Editor and Chief, Jazzdelapena.com
Andy González is one of the most respected and well-known bassists in Jazz and Latin music today. Born in New York City in 1951 to parents from the Lares section of Puerto Rico, music was already in his blood. His father Gerardo was an accomplished vocalist who sang with Augie Melendez Y su Combo, a Bronx-based group that patterned itself after La Playa Sextet. At age 13, after several years of violin & bass training, Andy joined a band with his brother Jerry called the Latin Jazz Quintet, which was heavily influenced by the sound of Cal Tjader’s group. The band’s first gig was at the Colgate Gardens in the Bronx opposite Tjader himself. Another notable gig for the band was at the Embassy Ballroom in the Bronx, on the same bill as Tito Rodriguez, Eddie Palmieri & Joe Cuba.
These were formative years for the González brothers. In that same Latin Jazz Quintet was a very influential pianist named Llewellen Matthews (long time musical director for vocalist Nancy Wilson) who would later form a rehearsal big band that both brothers played in. From Matthews, both Andy & Jerry acquired the discipline needed to make it as professionals. “If it were not for him there’s no telling what path our lives would have taken,” said Andy.
Over the next few years, the brothers would find themselves in a variety of musical settings: playing Jazz with Kenny Dorham & Dizzy Gillespie and Salsa with Eddie Palmieri & Ray Barretto. During his years with Palmieri, Andy formed a friendship with another influential figure in his life, the great timbalero & percussionist Manny Oquendo. In 1974, the two men would form the group Libre with Manny as a leader on timbales & Andy as co-leader & musical director, a partnership which would last for 35 years until Oquendo’s death in 2009.
Another important group formed at the same time which Oquendo was also a part of was Grupo Folklorico Experimental Y Nuevayorkino. Both of these bands are still currently active today.
In 1980, the González brothers would again break new ground with the formation of the Fort Apache Band, arguably one of the most important & influential groups playing what became known as Latin Jazz. This band also is active & continues to perform.
With over 50 years of experience playing professionally, as well as over 800 recording sessions (from his first with Monguito Santamaria to the present) Andy González is still very much in demand today.
Andy González ~ Entre Colegas ~ Released February 16, 2016
Personnel: Andy González, Luques Curtis, Zaccai Curtis, Nelson González, David Oquendo, Camilo Molina-Gaetan, Carlos Adabie, Nicky Marrero, Ricky Salas, Charlie Santiago, Vincent George, Ben Lapidus, Manuel Alejandro Carro, Roland Guerrero, Orlando “El Mostro De Camao” Santiago.
Tracks: Vieques, Ode to Joy, El Mostro’s Mayepes, Misty, Inspiración de Cachao (Estudio En Trompeta), Sabor A Mí, Dialysis Blues, Conversando Conversa, A Flower is a Lovesome Thing, The Addams Family