Andreas Varady, “Do It Again” from Andreas Varady (2014): One Track Mind

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Andreas Varady, a jazz-guitar prodigy who has caught the eye of Toto’s David Paich, begins this inventive take on a Steely Dan classic with an approach straight out of the thumb-riff playbook of Wes Montgomery. And for most of two minutes, he stays right there. “Do It Again” has been transformed into something witty and urbane, not unlike the pop reimaginings of Montgomery himself into the late 1960s.

Only Varady takes a sharp left turn thereafter, toward the wide uncharted territory of open-ended improvisation. It’s there, across this song’s middle, that we get a glimpse into what makes this teen such a celebrated new figure. In this moment, as Varady makes trickling runs and then swoopingly emotional asides, he doesn’t sound like anybody but himself. His bright future becomes viscerally real.

Elsewhere on Andreas Varady, the youngster moves with confidence and panache between Django Reinhardt (both “Nuages” and “Swing 42”) and similar pop-jazz reworkings of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” illustrating a range as remarkable as the guest stars who appear on this Verve debut.

Roy Hargrove helps reconstruct “Secret Garden,” a song co-written by Quincy Jones, who has taken Varady as something of a protege. Also on board for Andreas Varady: Gregory Porter (singer on Louis Jordan’s “Let the Good Times Roll”); drummers Harvey Mason and Dave Weckl; and several performers with connections to co-producer Paich’s band Toto — including Steve Lukather, Greg Phillinganes and Nathan East. “Human Nature” was, of course, co-written by Toto’s Steve Porcaro, as well.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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