The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 19, 2013

Where's Andy Stein? (Actually, the colorful multi-instrumentalist plays Sunday with the MSO)



Stein continued: “I was very flattered when (Freed) asked to play the piece with me. He could’ve asked anybody to play with him, I would think.”

The ridiculous portion of the concert, at least in Stein’s self-deprecating parlance, will comprise his selection of jazz standards. He’s re-arranged some of the tunes he played during his last appearance with the MSO and has added a few surprises as well.

“There will be a few novelty numbers I’m not at liberty to discuss,” he said.

With a manner of speaking and storytelling that is as colorful as the life experiences he’s gathered during a music career that began at age 3, it would be a shame not to include a few more of Stein’s musings:

-- On when he first met Ken Freed: “The first time we met, he was fresh out of college from Yale and he came to New York trying to make the scene. One of my friends was the conductor of a Broadway show I was doing and he needed a violin. (Freed) came in and wasn’t that hip yet in his green, straight-out-of-school life. But we stayed in touch. ... We have a lot of mutual friends from around New York when he was there just chopping. He knows a lot of people in my family. We go way back.”

-- On how he developed his eclectic tastes for music: “I’ve always been a misfit in my life. When I was 2 or 3 years old, someone gave me an ice cream cone. But instead of doing what every other kid does with an ice cream cone, I took a bite off the bottom. Everybody laughed at me.”

-- On recording “It’s Only a Paper Moon” on Paul McCartney’s 2012 album “Kisses on the Bottom”: “I got the gig because of Diana Krall. (McCartney) was looking for a violinist and she said, ‘Andy is your man.’ ... I worked the song up a bit but when (McCartney) showed up, he didn’t like what I did. Then I played it again and we got it on the first take after he told me what he wanted.”

-- On how cool it was to play for 22 years on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor: “After 22 years, coolness kind of becomes irrelevant. It’s more like a feeling that you’re making a lot of people happy. You’re charged with the responsibility of making a great show and it can be stressful. We needed to come up with two hours of new material every week.”

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