Andy grew up near Boston, MA in the 70s and 80s, witnessing first hand the births of mall culture and classic rock radio. Leaving home for the hills of Vermont to study engineering, he instead ended up spending much more time studying, playing and teaching music (bass in particular) for the better part of his 20s. During this time Cotton played with almost every great musician in Vermont (Paige McConnel, John Fishman, Jamie Masefield, Gabe Jarrett and Gordon Stone, among many others) and toured with Michael Ray and his Cosmic Krewe (featuring members of Sun Ra's Arkestra and NYC keyboard giant Adam Klipple).
Cotton moved to NYC to attend The New School University's well respected jazz program, studying with Reggie Workman, Richie Beirach, Jeff Carney, Jane Ira-Bloom, and many other musical heavyweights. While immersed in jazz during weekdays, he made extra cash performing on subway platforms with buddy Neil Cleary as "Hank Williams Lonesome Cheating Hearts Club Band" and playing honky-tonk gigs at the now fabled 9C in NYC's Alphabet City.
In the years following, Cotton worked with many of the top acoustic musicians in NYC including Greg Garing, Michael Daves, Jenny Scheinman, Kenny Kosek and the late great John Herald, including a Lincoln Center performance with bluegrass legends The Greenbriar Boys featuring Eric Weisberg (of 'Dueling Banjos' fame) where he joined Doc Watson on stage for a version of "Deep Ellum Blues."
Cotton has also worked as both a session and touring bassist with many excellent songwriters including Cyrille Neville (bass on his 2009 release 'Brand New Blues'), Paul Brill (bass on 3 full length albums, Brill's Emmy nominated soundtrack to the Darfur doc 'The Devil Came On Horseback', performace at the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage in D.C.), Rolling Stone photog Mark Seliger, 'Wild Thing' composer Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, Laura Cantrell (at Town Hall, NYC), Neil Cleary, Amber Rubarth, Clare Burson, and Mamie Minch (also as her first album's producer).
During the last few years Cotton has spent much more time getting deeper into Reggae, Afro-Cuban, R&B and Latin musics. His own band "DUTCH" has been performing regularly in some of the nicest small clubs in the city (Bembe, Zebulon, Nublu) and plays all his own compositions and arrangements. Cotton has also been collaborating on groove tracks with DJ Monk-One and the Greenwood Rythm Coalition, playing bass at hiphop showcases at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, bass on Luzmob's "Luz Interpretations" (mixed by the great Scotty Hard), and is a member of the house band at the weekly Soul Sessions at Rose in Brooklyn.
Andy Cotton: The Last Stand At The Havemeyer Ranch
Andy Cotton has teamed up with BJUR to release his second album titled "Last Stand At The Havemeyer Ranch." Though not a ‘jazz’ album stylistically, it does come from very much the same place. Most of the recordings on this album began as relatively open improvisations in the studio with Matt Ray (keys) and Yuval Lion (drums). The material, however, was based on Reggae, Afro-Cuban, and R&B rhythms instead of Jazz forms.
The recording sessions were held over the course of two years in Andy Cotton's rough but spacious loft studio on Havemeyer St. in Brooklyn, NY. The album title refers to the pending eviction by real estate developers which was in process during the album’s production. The room had everything to do with the sound and feel of these recordings, allowing for the musicians and their instruments to sound open and unhindered.
The basic tracks used for the album are improvisational moments cherry-picked from hours and hours of recordings and left largely unedited. Recording in this way, without time constraints or production schedules, was a great luxury that allowed the songs to develop organically in ways that can never be duplicated. Further overdubbing sessions with singers Mayteana Morales and Chauncey Yearwood, Kris Bauman (sax), Avishai Cohen (trumpet) and the many other gifted musicians featured on the album were equally as open, allowing each to bring as much of themselves as possible in to the music.
Andy Cotton - bass
Matt Ray - keys
Yuval Lion - drums
Mayteana Morales - voice
Chauncey Yearwood - voice
Kris Bauman - sax
Avishai Cohen - trumpet