Verve Records is excited to release the self-titled U.S. debut of new guitar phenom Andreas Varady on Tuesday, August 5. A rising European star and musical hero, Varady plays with incredible finesse and confidence; his age, 16, makes his approach downright startling.
In anticipation of Varady’s debut, four-songs from the album will be released as a digital-only EP called Come Together on Tuesday, June 17. GuitarWorld.com premieres the track “Swing 42” here.
Varady blends the accomplished technique of Wes Montgomery, soulful voicing of George Benson and Gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt. While he started absorbing these masters from his parents’ record collection, he also has a fresh view on their legacy.
“I always knew that I was slightly different than other people,” Varady said from his family’s home in Limerick, Ireland. “Not that I was better, but just slightly different. When I was 12, the kids at my school were into casual things, and I was into way different things.”
This guitarist also stands out from many veteran musicians. Guitar Player put Varady on its cover in 2012 and that summer he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in front the festival’s legendary founder, the late Claude Nobs, and world renowned producer Quincy Jones, who has since taken Varady on as a protégé.
“Andreas is the complete package,” Jones said. “He’s a 360-degree musician whose knowledge and appreciation for all genres-from jazz and hip-hop to rock and pop-can be felt in his music.”
“Now that I’ve met Quincy, I’ve felt this whole big new thing has opened up,” Varady said. “He just has this positive energy and whenever I talk to the people at Verve, they also have the same positive energy. I’ve learned so much from working with all of them.”
David Foster, chairman of Verve Music Group, is equally enthused about working with Varady. “There are a lot of ‘young guns’ out there, but what makes Andreas different is his mind-blowing maturity,” Foster said. “He thinks like a seasoned pro who has been doing this for 40 years and yet he brings a youthfulness to his music that is so refreshing.”
Varady’s omnivorous repertoire includes jazz standards, rock staples, pop selections (including a Justin Bieber tune) and Varady’s original compositions. David Paich (Toto) produced along with Jay Oliver and Dirty Loops. Its cast includes keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, bassist Brian Bromberg, percussionist Paulinho da Costa and drummers Harvey Mason and Dave Weckl. Guests include Roy Hargrove on flugelhorn, singers Nikki Yanofsky, Kevin Ross, Drew Ryan Scott and Gregory Porter, who lends his commanding baritone to “Let The Good Times Roll.” Additionally, Nathan East, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro and Aleks Sever are featured musicians.
“Everything that I listen to is an influence,” Varady said. “I like AC/DC and I’ve always listened to old school hip-hop that has those cool chords and loops. You find things in their music that you can add to your vocabulary and you’re expanding the whole thing.”
ABOUT ANDREAS VARADY
A new voice in guitar, Andreas Varady descends from a lineage of Gypsy musicians, especially his guitarist father Bandi (his mother and his sister sing and his brother plays the drums-his family frequently accompanies him). He started playing at the age of 4 when the family was living in Slovakia. They moved to Limerick, Ireland, five years later where he busked on the streets alongside his dad. He participated in the Limerick Jazz Workshop-where he learned more about Miles Davis, John Coltrane and contemporary heroes, like guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. Through YouTube, he met drummer David Lyttle. The drummer produced Varady’s 2010 debut, Questions (Lyte), and introduced him to the European jazz festival circuit. Now a Verve artist, Varady is planning more extensive international tours this summer.
“People on the Internet are sending me messages saying that they’re so happy to see me that they’re starting to play the guitar and uploading videos,” Varady said. “That’s really amazing. My working with Quincy has shown them that they can do this, too.”