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Happy Hour Jazz at the Institute Library
February 28 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pmFree
Narell took up the steelpan at a young age in Queens, New York. His father, who was a social worker, had started a program of steelpan playing for at-risk youth at the Jewish philanthropic Education Alliance in Lower East Side Manhattan using two sets of pans made by Rupert Sterling, a native of Antigua. Beginning in 1962, Andy, his brother Jeff, and three others boys played on a third set of Sterling-made pans in the basement of the Narell house in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens, calling themselves the Steel Bandits. The band was a novelty steelpan act that played concerts and appeared on television shows, including I’ve Got a Secret in 1963.
The band played Carnegie Hall and at the National Music Festival of Trinidad. Murray Narell invited Ellie Mannette in 1964 to expand steelpan activities in New York City and convinced him to come in 1967. Mannette taught the Narell boys more technique, and they played on improved pans tuned by Mannette.
He started the record label Hip Pocket and released his first solo album, Hidden Treasures, in 1979. With an interest in Caribbean music, Latin jazz, and rhythm and blues, he joined the Caribbean Jazz Project in 1995 with Dave Samuels and Paquito D’Rivera.
He has performed with Montreux, Sakésho, Calypsociation, and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He composed and arranged music for Trinidad‘s national steelband competition, Panorama. Narell performed in South Africa in 1999 in front of a crowd of 80,000 people.