In the eighties Andy entered the orbit of Australia’s legendary concert saxophonist 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 pianist and composer Andy Vance, which has produced several albums exploring an acoustic post-bop direction. 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 After Utopia, a 2021 remix of an earlier recording; Grand & Union, recorded in 2019; and Tenorness, recorded a year earlier. These albums have jazz-fusion settings, strongly influenced by recent trends in jazz, avant-pop and world music.
In an earlier 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 The Unit: Live at 3PBS.
Another of Andy’s projects is the 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. TTTenor currently features the front line of Andy, Roger Manins and John Mackey.
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).