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Andrew Barrett - Costa Mesa, CA

Andrew Barrett was born into a musical family in 1987 and first became interested in older styles of pop music at the age of a year old, when he heard a Decap dance organ at a museum in Germany. This, combined with frequent trips to Central Park carousel in New York City basically started his fascination with all manner of automatic musical instruments, particularly organs and pianos.

Andrew received a few informal lessons from some great drummers at a young age, then moved on to washboard and, eventually, piano – and, specifically, ragtime piano. Circa 1999, Andrew attended his first actual ragtime event, the “Ragtime Corner” at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, held in the springtime. Andrew got to meet, and hear, Elliott Adams, Nan Bostick, Tom Brier and Eric Marchese (among others), all for the first time. Soon after this, Andrew was in the audience at the first-ever RagFest in 2000.

In 2001, he started attending the Orange County Ragtime Society meetings in Fullerton, CA. A year later, he began performing at Rose Leaf Ragtime Club meetings (first in Pasadena, then in Monrovia). In 2003, Andrew performed at his first RagFest in Fullerton and attended the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, and has performed at both festivals ever since, along with appearances at the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival, the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest in Peoria, Illinois (where he placed sixth in the Adult Division in 2006) and, in 2008, at the annual Ragtime Rally at the Scott Joplin House in St. Louis, MO.

In 2000, after a couple of enthusiastic but untutored attempts at composing, Andrew managed to co-write his first rag, “Elastic,” with his father, Dan Barrett. Since 2000, Andrew has composed more than a dozen piano compositions. Over the past decade, Andrew has performed, studied and researched a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, dance bands, vaudeville and contemporary music. He has also become intensely interested in other forms of American popular vocal and instrumental music from the same and earlier time periods (circa 1870-1925) as vintage ragtime music, and has taken to studying and performing salon music of the pre-ragtime era, including pop songs, salon songs, instrumentals, and selections from stage shows and operettas.

His favorite composers of the past and present include Albert Gumble, Charles L. Johnson, Nat Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Ted Snyder, Harry Von Tilzer, Tom Brier, S. K. Goodman, Fred Hoeptner, David Thomas Roberts and Reginald Robinson. He lists Charley Straight, Pete Wendling, Victor Arden, Felix Arndt, Frank Banta, Roy Bargy, James Blythe, Gene Greene, Vince Guaraldi, James P. Johnson, Max Kortlander, Vess Ossman, J. Russel Robinson, Frederick Hodges, Robert Israel, Brad Kay, Bill Mitchell, Jerron Paxton, Robbie Rhodes and Bob Wright as some of his many favorite arrangers and performers.


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