A Jeff Andrews tribute, by Jimmy Coppolo

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by joe vegas, Apr 17, 2019.

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  1. My ancient NYC friend Jimmy Coppolo, of Alleva-Coppolo basses, was a good close friend of Jeff Andrews, the much-respected and storied player who passed away last month.

    At the time, Jimmy wrote a compelling bit of history about Jeff on facebook, which included info about a bass that Jaco had given Jeff, etc.

    I got Jimmy's permission to post that here, in case anyone is interested in checking it out.

    I met Jeff at Berklee in '78 and we stayed tight over the years. He was a massively gifted player who gigged with a big roster of household names, and was always a solid sincere cool cat.

    from Jimmy Coppolo,
    March 17th

    This is a real long one but for my friend Jeff, it’s the least I can do. Thursday 3/14/19a.d. I received some heartbreaking news that my longtime friend Jeff Andrews had passed away.

    We’d sort of joke how he forgot that we knew each other way back as the late 80s when I was working at Rudy’s Music on 48 th Street in NYC. I could be wrong but I think Jeff left NYC around the time I did in ‘93 but somehow we both moved back to NYC maybe around the same time again where Jeff would frequent my old shops (first at 1600 Broadway then later on 9th ave. and 50 th ). It seems funny how our lives paralleled even further; many years ago (around 2004 for me and early 2005 for Jeff) we both were experiencing hard personal challenges with our spouses at the time.Through this hard period going through what seemed like hell, when all said & done, divorces declared and the troubles gone, after a few long conversations at my old 9th ave. shop (see photo), we both came to the realization that no matter what, even though things work different than planned, love doesn’t dissipate and we agreed that the love we’ll always have for these women would be the same love and method to heal.

    Looking back it sure seems like Jeff and I were old war buddies and we fought side by side in some epic big battle… considering what we were up against it might as well have been, those ladies were (are) tough, and Jeff and I survived. In the photo accompanying this post is Jeff, my dog Caesar, and myself. Jeff has a refinished 1965 Jazz bass in his lap which unfortunately became somewhat of a casualty of that “epic” big battle mentioned. Many of you know Caesar was like my child (rest his beloved soul) and it was so great when Jeff would stop by the shop and play/ hang with Caesar. There was a lot of love there and as with a few of my real close friends it seemed as if Caesar and Jeff were like long lost brothers who enjoyed each other’s company and were always happy to see each other. I hold the friendship they had dear to my heart.

    I’m sure reading this some of you are curious about that jazz bass, well I guess we can start how Jeff got it. If memory serves me right, during the early ‘80s one of Jeff’s closest friends (known to many as the greatest bass player ever) Jaco Pastorius gave it to him- for those who don’t know who Jaco was, research him (I’d suggest Duck Duck Go as a search engine over g**gle; and buy all the recordings Jaco’s on, you won’t be disappointed- heck I thinkthe booklet that comes with the truth, liberty & soul CD may have a picture of this Jazz bass). From there according to Jeff, he used it with The Brecker Brothers and I think Mike Stern during the late 80’s- if I remember right the non-original case has a Brecker Brother’s tour sticker from the 80’s on it. As many of you know, like Jaco, Jeff was so amazingly talented so much so that I sort of recall reading somewhere that Jeff was Jaco’s favorite bass player- certainly says a lot for Jeff's talent. That bass certainly has a cool history and life doing exactly what it was made to do- being played by such amazing talented players and shared for the world to hear… Unfortunately (and this happens to so many of us) Jeff had to sell the bass. He sold it to me at my old shop to help cover the high legal costs he was dealing with back then. To me the bass represents more than history. It was the connection, the similar struggles that I had shared with my friend Jeff, and as I mentioned earlier it also represents what we both discovered, that love heals all.

    Through the years of knowing Jeff (as it is with many friends) there would be times where I couldn’t find him, especially when I first moved to L.A from NYC. I would contact his students, mutual musician friends, even other instrument manufacturers and none of them could find him either. It wouldn’t be too long though before he’d appear again. Until I got word Thursday about his passing we stayed in touch more frequently especially since we were working together on what was to be an official Jeff Andrews signature bass, a projectI started with him as far back from when I was still in NYC. My business partner Benedetto Nino Caccavale and my good friend Sandra along with Jeff were helping with the R&D. We modeled it after his 1967 P bass that had the original finish removed and that he modified many, many times with all sorts of parts and electronics.

    After a restoration I did for Chuck Rainey’s original 1960 P bass, Jeff was seriously considering having me restore his P-bass, which other than magazine photos and video clips I don’t recall actually ever seeing in hand. Just as with that Jazz bass it sure would have been more than an honor to just hold that bass. Also it would reveal what Jeff had been used to playing for all these years, especially since it was his go to bass for most of his career. Last time we spoke the plan we had was for me to hold one of my Bassacre Fund Raiser shows again which would feature both Jeff and our mutual friend Bobby Vega. At the show we would reveal the signature bass, he was to show his ’67 P-bass (either restored or not) and since I still have access to that ’65 Jazz bass we’d both show it and he would have played them all, tell us stories as well as share some never before heard recordings that he and Jaco played together on.

    Years ago Jeff shared with me that he had many, many recordings of the two of them playing together filled with so much great material all un-heard by anyone but them. Sadly though, most of these recordings were taken from him. Without getting into too much detail, because Jeff was such a sweet heart he put his trust in someone who took advantage and basically walked off with the majority of the tapes. He really wanted to get at least whatever material he had left and share it with you all. He was that type of guy, very generous, very gracious, very thankful and grateful. He influenced a lot of players and took his precious time to teach many players how to find themselves as musicians and how to get over the hurdles many players face. A selfless act considering that many students after reaching or achieving what was probably their best with Jeff could now take his gigs… when speaking of this possibility with him, he was so kind and not only didn’t care about losing a gig to a student, he said he’d be refering them anyway. He wanted to help people especially the struggling musician, after all he lived the same struggle and without any one helping him.

    They don’t make players like Jeff anymore and they sure don’t make people with
    integrity like Jeff any more either. It’s almost like there’s no place for them in the current world we're in. Cats like Jeff are a treasure and a once in a life time gift form the Creator. Sure he had his demons as we all do (none of us are perfect) but perhaps his concern, true altruism and sincere love for all was the biggest demon.

    Hopefully with all friends and loved ones physically gone, our story (stories) with them doesn’t end here and perhaps it’s just the beginning of something unfathomably greater… because there is no doubt that somehow, somewhere and some way we will all be together filled with unconditional love; all the nonsense that traps us here will be gone with no chance of return. Until then I’ll be looking and listening for the signs of Jeff’s energy around and with a little luck will be attending his future gigs with all the other lost greats in the dream world. Thank you Jeff for the great music, the far out stories, the fun times, the love and time you shared with my dog Caesar and the friendship, Something I will cherish forever!!! Love heals all.
  2. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Thanks for posting that!
    joe vegas likes this.
  3. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Thanks for posting. I was always amazed at how fluid he was
    playing solos.
    joe vegas likes this.
  4. msw


    Aug 21, 2003
    What a beautiful tribute. Thank you. Jeff and I were at Berklee at the same time though I didn’t know him. It was after he went to NYC that I heard about him. Being a huge Jaco fan I was astounded by his playing the first time I heard him. He was, like Jaco, and a few others at that time, a very fluid, facile and above all melodic soloist. He did a great job supporting as well. Thank you again for such a great tribute to your close friend and one of the great ones.
    joe vegas likes this.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Jimmy Coppolo truly loved Jeff Andrews, and it comes through loud and clear in that tribute. As Mr. Coppolo said repeatedly, Jeff Andrews had been a great person to earn that type of send off.
    joe vegas likes this.
  6. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    A nice tribute indeed. I tried to find info on Jeff and not much listed.
    I was hoping to see him in concert with Mike Stern.
    joe vegas likes this.

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