Andrew Oliver is a pianist from Portland, Oregon. After growing up playing classical piano, he became fascinated with ragtime and early jazz in his teens, eventually leading him to study music at Loyola University New Orleans, absorbing the musical culture of the Crescent City until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Returning home after the storm, he hooked up with New Orleans expatriate saxophonist Devin Phillips, who had moved to Portland after Katrina. With Phillips’ quartet he toured 5 countries in West Africa in 2007 as a cultural ambassador with Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department’s Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program.
From 2005-2013 he was an integral member of the Portland jazz scene, playing both traditional and modern jazz. The Andrew Oliver Sextet released 2 albums of original music to critical acclaim and his group the Kora Band, integrating jazz and the traditional west African kora, a 21-string harp, recorded three albums, winning multiple awards and commissions from Earshot Jazz in Seattle and Chamber Music America. He formed the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble, a nonprofit large ensemble encouraging new music by local composers and a corresponding record label, and toured Canada and the U.S. seven times with the Canadian-American collective Tunnel Six. He also released “Sister Cities” with his chamber-jazz group the Ocular Concern, receiving four stars from Downbeat Magazine.
At the same time, Andrew co-founded and played piano, cornet, and drums in the Bridgetown Sextet, performing 1920s and 30s jazz and stomp with a high energy attitude which cemented the group’s popularity among both listeners and dancers in the Northwest and releasing three albums. He also delved into the world of Argentine tango music, with an extended collaboration with bandoneonist (and expert dancer) Alex Krebs, resulting in a long-standing monthly gig at Tango Berretin, Portland’s only all-Argentine Tango dance studio, an album of original tangos for dancing and an album of new tango/jazz/rock fusion, “What the Tango?!”
Since moving to London, England in 2013, Andrew has continued to pursue his love of early jazz within the impressive London and UK traditional jazz scene. Upon arriving he quickly teamed up with clarinetist and bass saxophonist David Horniblow. A long-lasting duo residency subsequently gave birth to the Dime Notes, a band focused on new interpretations of 20s and 30s repertoire within the framework of the traditional style, and the Vitality Five, a raucous quintet playing 20s small group stomps and jazz with unparalleled energy and authenticity. Both bands have played extensively in London, the UK, and Europe, with the Dime Notes embarking on an ambitious 3 week tour of Scotland in June 2017, and the Vitality Five featured at festivals in Holland, Germany, and Hungary in 2017.
In addition, Andrew plays with the Old Hat Jazz Band, the London Tango Orchestra, and freelances with many other musicians and bands in London. His playing is energetic and authentic, drawing on the styles of pianists such as Jelly Roll Morton, James P Johnson, and Earl Hines to deliver a stomping style which emphasizes the exciting groove and drive which brought jazz to the forefront of popular music in the 20th century and continues to excite and captivate audiences today.