In the eighties Andy entered the orbit of Australia’s legendary concert saxophonist and educator Peter Clinch, then a recent president of the World Saxophone Congress. Peter’s seminal role in the development of an Australian saxophone aesthetic mirrored the role played by Jean-Marie Londeix in France and Joe Allard in the USA.
Andy spent the early eighties studying and at times performing the classical repertoire with Peter. He also began a life-long partnership with jazz pianist Andy Vance, which has produced several albums exploring a post-bop acoustic aesthetic. Through this partnership Andy (Sugg) developed a national profile, appeared at major festivals, on radio and television, and had his music used in hit TV dramas. Meanwhile, his apprenticeship continued in New York with Dave Liebman, George Coleman and Bill Evans.
In the nineties Andy emerged as a bandleader fronting a series of acoustic and electric projects. Of these, The Andy Sugg Group has been the mainstay. It has produced several albums, the most recent being Wednesdays at M’s, recorded in NYC in 2016. This album is a jazz/fusion setting, strongly influenced by recent trends in jazz, minimalism and avant-pop.
In Andy’s previous album, The Berlin Session, the jazz avant-garde is explored, as it is in The Kris Wanders/Andy Sugg Unit, which has formed the engine room of concert events such as the recreation of Coltrane’s Ascension session and the iconic A Love Supreme. The Unit has recorded On The Edges of Silence and most currently The Unit: Live at 3PBS.
Another of Andy’s projects is the contemporary bop group, TTTenor, which features hard-blowing post-Trane solo and collective improvisation. The group’s first album, TTTenor, included Jamie Oehlers and Julien Wilson, with the rhythm section of Paul Grabowsky, Gary Costello and Andrew Gander.
Andy has written on jazz for The Times Literary Supplement (London) and the International Society for Jazz Research (Graz) and has been a regular contributor to Music Forum, the journal of the Music Council of Australia. He has lectured at the Centro Didattico Produzione Musica (Milan), the Manhattan School of Music (New York), and the World Saxophone Congress (Strasbourg, France). His book on modern jazz, The Influence of John Coltrane on Improvising Saxophonists (Edwin Mellen Press: New York and Wales), was praised by leading US jazz scholars Professors Lewis Porter and David Demsey, the latter describing it as “an analytical masterpiece.” Andy was a consultant for Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, the first feature-length film of its kind, directed by John Scheinfeld (Crew Neck Productions – Los Angeles).