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Born in Minnesota and raised in New Jersey, saxophonist and composer Andrew Van Tassel has been described as a deeply emotional, hugely sonic musician, with ornamented phrases and pyrotechnic-like technique soaring out of him. After starting on piano and switching to saxophone, Andrew was invited to join NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens Program in High School. Soon thereafter he transferred to Manhattan School of Music’s Pre-College program. In his senior year of high school, Andrew was offered a music scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
While he was always an avid listener, Van Tassel was not serious about a career in performance until the end of his undergrad years. The summer before his senior year he was offered the opportunity to record on Summit Records for his mentor, Stephen Anderson. After getting a taste of playing with the pros, he knew there was no going back. Upon graduation at UNC, Andrew earned highest honors with a double major in Music and Economics, in addition to a scholarship to attend the prestigious New England Conservatory for his Master’s degree.
While earning his Master’s for performance at NEC, Van Tassel studied privately with Jerry Bergonzi, Donny McCaslin, John McNeil, and MacArthur Fellows Jason Moran and Miguel Zenon. He finished his degree with academic honors in the spring of 2012, and is now looking to find his place in the New York music scene.
Over the years Andrew has had the privilege of performing in notable venues such as Smoke, Puppet's Jazz, Scullers, Wally's, The Lilypad, Cecil's Jazz Club, Trumpets, Swing 46, Snug Harbor, the Berklee Performance Center, the Carolina Theatre, Marsh Woodwinds, Cats Cradle, Jordan Hall, and Memorial Hall at UNC. He has also shared the bandstand with jazz icons including Dave Holland, Jason Moran, Miguel Zenon, Jerry Bergonzi, Cecil McBee, Bob Moses, Steve Wilson, Joel Frahm, Rich Perry, Dave Stryker, Greg Gisbert, Jim Rotondi, and Herlin Riley.