Andrew Barrett

Costa Mesa, California
Updated 9/25/2012

Andrew E. Barrett comes from a musical family and was brought up 
hearing a wide variety of music in the house, from traditional jazz and swing that is his father's favorite, to the classic rock and world music enjoyed by his uncle, to the classical music, operetta, and ragtime favored by his grandfather.

Although he enjoys all of this music, Andrew really latched onto the ragtime, and, also propelled by his discovery of automatic musical 
instruments and their music (also at a young age), his musical path was set. Andrew has been playing percussion instruments since he was at least four years old, and at some point started picking out tunes on the piano, by ear, with one finger. 

Circa age 11 or so, Andrew decided he was not content just playing 
with one finger, and, inspired by the different then-new ragtime MIDI websites he found on the internet, (not to mention all of the great recordings of player piano, coin piano, and orchestrion music) asked his parents for piano lessons. Thus Andrew was given circa eight years of lessons with local piano instructor, Anita Gillett, from a beginning through intermediate level. 

Everything since then has been largely self-taught, either through studying sheet music, copying bits of recordings and piano rolls, or learning sheet-music transcriptions of said recordings and piano rolls. (However, Andrew would like to add that he has had some instruction in blues piano from Carl Sonny Leyland, and has also gained much valuable knowledge and advice from piano-playing friends, some of whom will also be at the festival).

Andrew's musical taste, sensibility, and accompanying ability has been shaped by advice from his father, Dan Barrett, an early mentor, George Probert, and several other folks (notably Brad Kay and Luigi Ranalli) who have given, and continue to give, much valuable advice regarding playing in an ensemble, and also regarding accompanying vocalists and solo instrumentalists.

Andrew's first attempts at composition came with his early study of the piano, but his first real rag, "Elastic" (a collaboration with his father, Dan Barrett) didn't appear until 2000. Since then, Andrew has composed and completed about 15 rags and other pieces of music, with at least a dozen more awaiting completion.

Andrew's favorite composers include Roy Bargy, Charlotte Blake, Joe Cooper, Silvio Hein, Fred Hoeptner, Karl Hoschna, Nat Johnson, James Mercer, Robin Pecknold, William C. Polla, David Thomas Roberts, Ron Ross, and Harry C. Thompson, among many others. You can hear their influence in his compositions.

Andrew's favorite pianists include Frank Banta, James Blythe, Irving Brodsky, Buddy Burton, Art Gillham, Porter Grainger, Louis Hooper, Clarence Johnson, Ray Perkins, Phil Schwartz, Ernest Stevens, Charley Straight, and Pete Wendling, among many others. You can hear their influence in his playing.

In addition to his ragtime and solo piano work, Andrew has had the privilege of accompanying several great singers. He has also had the privilege to participate in the following musical groups (encompassing many genres): The California Feetwarmers, City Country City, The Dough Rollers, Evans and Rogers, Fletcher's Castorians, Sister Rogers, Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five, The Surrenders, and the Unurban Irregulars (among others).

Andrew is currently finishing up his last few semesters at OCC (Orange Coast College) with a major in music, 
hoping eventually to transfer to a University where he may obtain a degree in musicology, and perhaps also library science (to become an archivist).

Andrew has ideas for books, sheet music folios, reissue recordings, reissue piano rolls, and websites, (mostly to do with American popular piano styles and piano playing from the 1890s through the 1920s) and would like as much local help as possible to make these dreams a reality, so that people in the future do not have to struggle to obtain a certain pianist's complete recordings, nor to struggle to learn to play like that pianist.

Andrew would also like to please ask anyone who can to save a poor neglected player piano and/or reed organ from the dump, and get it fully restored by a qualified restorer, not just for their own musical enjoyment and edification (and of their friends), but also to help preserve more of these great instruments for future generations.

Andrew would also like to ask those who possess said fully-restored pianos and reed organs, to please make them available to musicians for recording purposes, so that today's musicians can rediscover their great sounds and use them to help make the great music of tomorrow.