Andrew Oliver is an American pianist based in London specializing in early jazz, swing, tango, and modern jazz piano and composition. He studied in New Orleans before returning to his hometown of Portland, Oregon in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. His first group, the Andrew Oliver Sextet, released 2 albums to critical acclaim in the Northwest and performed regularly between 2005 and 2010. After traveling to Africa with saxophonist Devin Phillips in 2007 as part of the U.S. State Department’s “Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad” program, Andrew founded The Kora Band, blending West African traditions and jazz and featuring Kane Mathis on kora, a 21-string traditional harp. Andrew was awarded a 2012 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America for the composition, performance, and recording of “New Cities”, the third Kora Band album, released to critical acclaim in 2015 on Whirlwind Recordings.
Andrew received a scholarship to study at the renowned Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in 2009. While there, Andrew and 5 other musicians from the U.S. and Canada co-founded the group Tunnel Six, which has since toured Canada and the U.S. seven times with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. The title track of their debut album “Lake Superior”, a composition of Andrew’s, was awarded a 2010 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award.
The Oregon Arts Commission awarded Andrew a 2011 Artist Fellowship and a Career Opportunity Grant allowing him to travel to New York for studies with composer John Hollenbeck in the spring of 2011. Andrew was the co-founder and former executive director of the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Oregon which works to encourage the creation and dissemination of jazz and creative music in the region. In 2013, the PJCE instituted a new record label, PJCE Records, releasing a wide variety of creative music from Portland artists, including “Sister Cities” from his group The Ocular Concern, which was released to critical acclaim, including a 4-star Downbeat review, in 2014.
Andrew has been active in traditional jazz since high school, leading and playing piano, cornet, and drums in Portland’s raucous Bridgetown Sextet from 2008-2013. Since moving to London, he has become an integral member of the city’s thriving traditional jazz scene, co-directing The Dime Notes, the Vitality Five, the Vitality Three, and performing with the Old Hat Jazz Band, Benoit Viellefon and his Orchestra, and others, and endeavoring to perform stride piano and early jazz and swing with the true energetic and revolutionary spirit that it embodies.
Andrew also has a passion for Argentine tango music, having collaborated for many years with Portland tango musician and dancer Alex Krebs on a number of projects and albums of traditional, contemporary, and original tango music. He works with singer Megan Yvonne in a duo setting and performs regularly with the London Tango Orchestra.