Wit Of The Staircase
(Vermicious Knid Music)


The sound of uptempo boppin’ jazz guitar is alive and well in the garden state of New Jersey. For the 2009 CD release of Wit Of The Staircase, Andy Rothstein’s guitar and compositions receive solid support from bassist Tony Senatore, keyboardist Pete Levin, drummers Luther Rix and Van Romaine and a host of other fine players. There’s some fine interplay between Rothstein and the core band, who also receive added backing from a complete horn section led by trumpet master Lew Soloff. With the refined studio sound attained here, kudos must also go to Steve Jankowski, who not only engineered and co-produced, but also arranged all the horn sections and played trumpet. Describing the session in the liner note of the superbly packaged multi-panel digipak album, Rothstein adds ‘We were going for a real old school ‘Blue Note’ vibe and recorded each tune 2-3 times and picked the best version of each. I got to showcase all the aspects of my guitar playing, ranging from straight ahead bebop to fusion to rock.’ You can spot several influences including Metheny and, to my ears, French guitar fusion great Jean Pierre Llabador among other giants of jazz. Rothstein’s guitar sound is superbly tracked and the overall sound is warm and clear. Enhancing the album’s predominantly jazzy vibe, track 7, “Word For Word” superbly conjures a solid Clapton / Harrison kind of slide sound with it’s lushly unfolding melodic instrumental guitar leads. Clearly these guys know what they’re doing in the studio! Having played guitar since he was 13, Rothstein has studied with greats like Steve Khan, Kevin Eubanks and Ted Dunbar. Following the 2006 release of his acclaimed solo debut Voodoo Tone, Rothstein offers an excellent follow up CD that speaks volumes about the state of jazz/rock guitar instrumental music in 2009.

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Musical Background

I've been playing guitar for over 25 years. I had the opportunity of studying with both Kevin Eubanks and the late Ted Dunbar at Rutgers university in the late 80s, as well as privately with Steve Khan and Vinnie Zummo. I spent the early 90’s aggressively performing and recording with a variety of bands including jazz-fusion band One More Once, fronted by violinist Jonathan Dinklage, and alternative rock band The Prayer. My next major musical endeavor in the late 90’s was the forming of my own progressive/alternative rock band Mary's Magnet with long time friend and bassist Tony Senatore. Since 2005 I’ve been developing my solo career and released my first CD Voodoo Tone in 2006 and my second CD Wit Of The Staircase this year.

New CD

My new CD is Wit Of The Staircase was recorded over a period ranging from 2008-2009. It was engineered by Steve Jankowski (Jankland Recording) and produced by Steve Jankowski, Tony Senatore and myself. I am proud to say it made it onto the 2010 Grammy ballot in 2 categories: Best contemporary jazz album and best jazz solo for Lew Soloff’s trumpet solo on “Wit Of The Staircase.” I was fortunate to have an opportunity to work with some phenomenal musicians and showcase all the aspects of my guitar playing ranging from straight ahead bebop to fusion to rock.

This record is really divided into 2 separate recordings. Four of the tunes “Recordame”, “No Worries”, “Just Friends” and “Minor League” were cut live at Jankland recording studios in New Jersey in September 2008. We were going for a real old school ‘Blue Note’ vibe and recorded each tune 2-3 times and picked the best version of each. The rest of the tunes were all remote-tracked with a lot of the guitar recorded in my house.

Favorite Guitars

On this record I predominantly used a Gibson Pat Martino custom for the more jazz oriented tunes and my own custom Swamp Ash Tele on the more rock/funk oriented tunes. I am using 2 amps in stereo: a Victoria VIctorilux and a Rivera Fandango. I use a variety of pedals including a Fulltone Fulldrive for overdrive and Hermedia Zen Drive for distortion and a T.C. Electronic chorus and a pair of Boss DD-3 delays.

Musical Influences

My favorite jazz players are Pat Martino, Pat Metheny John Scofield, Mike Stern and Wes Montgomery. My favorite rock players are Hendrix, Clapton, Jimmy Page, Alex Lifeson, The Edge, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Neil Schon, and my favorite rock bands are Zep, U2, Police, Queen, Jeff Buckley and the Beatles. Hard to say which albums influenced me the most but Pat Martino’s East, Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Ghost In The Machine by The Police all had a huge impact on me.

Upcoming Plans

We plan on playing many live shows in support of the CD. Our next show will be at Bar Saints & Sinners in Hoboken November 27th, 2009.

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