Photo Credit: Nick Carter
“The RS Berkeley alto flute is an absolute wonder. I love the sound and above all the responsiveness when I play. Everywhere I play it I get compliments on the sound! I would strongly recommend to any professional flutist or doubler.”
Andrea Brachfeld was brought up in a household where it was mandatory to play the piano and began studying at the early age of six. By age ten, she found out that you could take the flute in school and get out of class; so the flute it was! She entered the High School of Music and Art in 1969 majoring in the flute. There she met and played with Noel Pointer, Nat Adderly Jr., Dave Valentín, Earl Macintyre, Buddy Williams and many other fantastic musicians.
By the age of sixteen, Andrea got a quartet together and performed her first jazz gig, in which she wrote her own music and played at “All Night Soul” at St. Peter’s Church, hired by Reverend Gensel. From that point on, improvisation became a way of life for her. She studied jazz at the Jazzmobile workshops where every Saturday morning jazz greats Jimmy Heath, Billy Taylor and numerous others gave their time to teach young musicians how to play jazz. Andrea mentioned, “I was blessed to have Jimmy Heath as the flute teacher. He was not only a teacher of music but also taught me many things about life.” She also attended the Jazz Interactions workshop, an organization run by Joe and Rigmor Newman during that time. There she met and studied with Yusef Lateef and Barry Harris, who always said “if you can’t carry your instrument you shouldn’t be playing it.”
In 1974, Andrea Brachfeld was awarded the prestigious Louis Armstrong Award, which was awarded to an outstanding Jazz student from Jazz Interactions. Along with the award came a $500 scholarship to the Berklee School of Music. She chose to attend the Manhattan School of Music, instead as she wanted to become a well-rounded flautist before focusing on a specific style of music. There she studied with Harold Bennett and Andrew Loyla, while taking jazz lessons with Hubert Laws, Sam Baron, Eddie Daniels and George Coleman. It was an incredible time to be in New York. While living in Manhattan, Andrea got involved in playing Charanga music. One evening she was at a club called the Tin Palace on the Bowery and her friend Lloyd McNeil was playing there with his band. She sat in with Lloyd and Mauricio Smith, who had been in the audience, came up to her afterwards and asked if she wanted to play in a Charanga band. That was the beginning of her Afro-Cuban musical influence, which opened the door to work with Tipica New York, The Benito Sextet, Charanga ’76, Tipica Ideal, Charanga America, Joe Quijano, Conjunto Libre, Joe Cuba and many other bands. She has also associated with Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Machito and others.
While playing the Charanga gigs, Andrea also pursued her interest in jazz. She always managed to put together groups for gigs and has had Frank and Jay Clayton, Charles Eubanks, Adam Nussbaum, Peter Fish, Jeff Andrews, Rob Schneiderman, Kenwood Dennard, Mark Helias, Frank Stagnitto and Tom Whaley among others in her bands.
In 1978, Andrea recorded her first LP titled “Andrea”, which was produced by Vicente Barreira, owner of the Casa Latina record store. Andrea had some remarkable musicians featured on the CD, including Louis Bauzo, Barry Rogers, Johnny Almendra, Jose Madera, Paul Kimbarrow, and Bobby Rodriguez to name a few.
After graduating Manhattan, Andrea continued playing wherever she could. One day she got a call from Renato Capriles offering her a gig in Venezuela. Little would she know that a four week gig would span into 2 ½ years. During that time Andrea performed in a club called the Juan Sebastien Bar in Caracas, playing jazz six nights a week. One thing led to another and eventually she formed her first Latin Jazz band. The band opened for Gary Burton, Paco Lucia and Chick Corea.
Upon her return to the United States, Andrea decided to devote more quality time to her young family. For the next seventeen years, Andrea was consistently involved in some kind of musical group, but wanted to stay local for her family. It was during this time that Andrea returned to graduate school and earned a Master’s degree and began her teaching career. In 1998, Andrea decided to refocus and redirect her energy towards her music as her daughter had become more independent. She produced her first CD ,”Remembered Dreams, and has since that time spent her time producing, marketing, promoting, composing and playing her music.
In the summer of 2000, Andrea signed with San Francisco based, Spirit Nectar Records and released “Remembered Dreams” in May, 2001. Andrea would go on to sign with Latin Cool Records in 2003 and released “Back With Sweet Passion”, a Charanga Jazz CD featuring Salsa superstars Oscar Hernandez (Spanish Harlem Orchestra), Alfredo de la Fé and Chembo Corniel. In 2006, Andrea released an album in collaboration with Chembo Corniel titled, “Beyond Standards”, which features Hilton Ruiz, Steve Turre and Pedrito Martinez.
In 2008, Andrea recorded “Into the World: A Musical Offering”, which features Mike Longo, Paul West and Brian Lynch and a meditation CD called, “Songs from the Divine”. In 2012, Andrea recorded her first jazz album, which features Wycliffe Gordon, Wallace Roney and Bill O’ Connell.
Andrea is currently performing, composing, teaching master classes, and facilitating clinics about music; specifically jazz, Cuban music, and Focal Dystonia. She is also a member of the Universe Orchestra led by Wallace Roney, playing Wayne Shorter’s music.
AF201 | Professional Alto Flute, Silver Plated