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Legendary Jazzman Ernie Andrews: Unsung But Still Singing

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, April 8, 2011

For the better part of six decades, Ernie Andrews has been a favorite singer among jazz musicians.  Here's how the great alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley introduced Andrews on a recording they made together in the 1960's.

(excerpt, then under)

Before Cannonball, Andrews sang in front of the famous bands of Benny Carter and Harry James.  He never achieved the popular success enjoyed by fellow singers like Joe Williams, Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole. But that didn't deter Andrews. He continued working and recording with jazz greats like Kenny Burrell, Jay McShann, and Gene Harris.


These days Ernie Andrews often works with renowned saxophonist Jeff Clayton, who recently moved to the Sacramento area and will be joining Andrews this Sunday at JB's Lounge.

JEFF CLAYTON: "Back in his day, vocalists were musicians and musicians were vocalists and  he loves to be a part of the rhythm section and the horns.  So you feel warm and fuzzy about playing with Ernie. Sometimes he'll just put the microphone down and just open up the room like Pavoroti and just sing to the back of the room."

Now at age 83, Ernie Andrews continues to perform and record, though he's not getting rich.  Still, he told me on the phone last week, for Ernie music trumps money everytime.
ERNIE ANDREWS: "I can't make 15 cents over a dollar, but I mean I'm always there.  Wherever they need me, I'll be there and we'll get it done, you know."
And for this Sunday at least, Ernie will be getting it done here in Sacramento. 
Vocalist Ernie Andrews and his band -- featuring saxophonist Jeff Clayton -- perform shows at 5 and 7 p.m. this Sunday at JB's Lounge in Sacramento. 
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