The Andy Rothstein Band – Headed to the Long Branch Jazz and Blues Festival

Andy Rothstein

By Tina LoBosco

Tina LoBosco spoke to Andy Rothstein about his dynamic jazz fusion sound and their upcoming gig at the JSJBF Long Branch Jazz and Blues Festival in August 2023.

Tell us how your band came together.
In the mid to late 90’s, my good friend and bassist Tony Senatore and I were members of an original alternative rock band named Mary’s Magnet. That band eventually disbanded, but Tony and I continued our partnership in various musical situations, one of which was Tony’s debut solo album Holyland in 2005. It was on that project when I was first introduced to trumpeter Steve Jankowski’s fantastic playing and horn arrangements. I’ve had the privilege of working with both Steve and Tony on all 3 of the band’s albums, 2 of which were produced by Steve. Steve introduced us to D Pappas (keys) and Ken Gioffre (sax), and then Tom Cottone (drums) joined the band during our latest CD “Truth Against the World.”

Andy, who do you think are your biggest influences?
From a guitar standpoint, the players who have influenced me the most include Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield, Mike Stern, Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brian May, Eric Clapton, and Andy Summers. I’m also extremely fortunate to have studied with some amazing teachers including Vinnie Zummo, Steve Khan, Kevin Eubanks, and Ted Dunbar, all of whom have had a tremendous impact on me.

Tell us what your creative process is like:
I have found that inspiration often hits at unpredictable times, and when it does hit, you have to strike while the iron is hot. One thing I’ve learned (and this might sound strange) is to let the ideas develop themselves naturally, sort of flowing through me, as opposed to letting my guitarist hands lead the way. Guitarists in particular (me included) have a tendency to be influenced by the muscle memory in our hands, and that muscle memory (although certainly a good thing from a technique standpoint) has a tendency to interfere with the writing process, and is probably best kept in check, to avoid being the tail wagging the dog.

Tell us about one of the craziest thing that happened to you while performing?
One of the very first gigs we did as the Andy Rothstein Band was back in 2007 outdoors at the Woodbridge Farmers market. It was also the strangest gig we ever did. The placement of the jazz quintet between the cheese vendor and vegetable stand felt just a tad bit out of place!! This bizarre gig was captured on video! Video Link

If you had your choice of artists that you could open for, who would that be?
Pat Metheny!

Do you have anything else you want to add?
We’re currently working on writing in preparation for recording a new CD. I’m also looking forward to performing at the JSJBF Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival on 8/26!