Bluegrass mandolin and klezmer clarinet maestro Andy Statman is reporting that he has recovered from the corona virus, at his home in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. His wife, Barbara, also exhibited symptoms, but they are both primarily recovered and feeling much better.
Statman told The Forward that he began feeling poorly last week, and that his doctor diagnosed him with COVID 19.
“He said ‘You have the virus,’” Statman said over the phone.
The Brooklyn-based clarinetist and mandolin player said he woke up ill on the morning of Sunday, March 22nd, feeling dizzy, achy and unable to get out of bed.
“I’ve never had vertigo like this before,” Statman said. “Everything was spinning. It was crazy.”
His wife Barbara got sick the following Wednesday night with a high temperature but had no difficulty breathing.
Fortunately, both Andy and Barbara were not sick enough to require hospitalization. Whew…
Statman has been prominent in modern and experimental bluegrass circles since the 1970s, when he was involved in the New York string music scene alongside other prodigies like Tony Trischka, David Grisman, and Russ Barenberg. He performed regularly with seminal progressive groups like Country Cookin’ and Breakfast Special, which also included Pete Wernick. Andy has continued to record and perform in his inimitable, spirited mandolin style since those days, though much of his artistic energy is dedicated to the clarinet.
During the same time he was establishing himself as a force in modern mandolin in the ’70s, Andy took up the study of the clarinet in klezmer music, a dance style kept alive for hundred of years by the Jewish people of eastern Europe. Now it is performed regularly in the various republics of the former Soviet Union, throughout Europe, and in the United States wherever Jewish people congregate. It is a staple at Jewish weddings to this day, though the tradition dates back to at least the 2nd century.
He was raised in a secular home, but Andy now dutifully practices his Orthodox Jewish faith. Statman stills finds time to perform in a number of NYC nightspots with his trio. Unfortunately, his west coast tour with David Grisman later this year has been cancelled.
In 2012 Statman was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor available in the United States in folk and traditional music.
Here’s a look at the music video for the title track of his most recent album, Monroe Bus.
Get well soon, Andy and Barbara!