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Released Februrary 20, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Andy Narell has been a pioneer of the steel pan drum in contemporary music. On March 7, he will join the members of the Steel Band at The University of Southern Mississippi in concert at 2:30 p.m. in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center auditorium.

The 18-piece Southern Miss Steel Band, under the direction of Dr. John Wooton, will perform several of Narell's famous compositions with the guest artist performing as soloist.

"Narell is, without question, the most recorded steel pan player in the world," said Wooton. "His playing is mesmerizing, virtuosic, and haunting. Anyone who knows anything about steel drums knows about Andy Narell."

Recent Narell works like "Coffee Street," "Appreciation," and "Play One for Keith" will be featured on the program. The virtuoso will perform on several steel pans, including lead pan, double seconds, and guitar pans.

As an added dimension to the afternoon of laid-back musical bliss, Wooton's own professional Caribbean jazz band KAISO! will be part of the concert's bill of fare and perform selected numbers with Narell.

Although Wooton has never met Narell personally, he credits Narell for being the motivating force in his own interest in playing steel pans. Wooton's closest contact with the famous drummer came through Narell's brother, Jeff, who played with the Southern Miss Steel Band several years ago.

"It is really a chance of a lifetime to perform with the person who is the biggest name in the steel band world," Wooton said. "The students are very excited and have been quite impressed with the beauty of Narell's music that we have been rehearsing. I must admit there are some of my students who don't know Narell and his music. But, I tell them that after this concert, they will know Andy Narell. I think it unlikely that our audience members will soon forget him either."

A native of New York, Narell has spent more than two decades developing his global reputation. His multicultural style embraces a range of Afro-Caribbean, Latin jazz and pop traditions. He's one of only a small handful of steel pan players in the world who are playing jazz, and perhaps the only one among the jazz elite to dedicate a majority of his career to creating new jazz music for the steel pan.

Narell has recorded 10 solo albums and two more as co-leader of the Caribbean Jazz Project (with Paquito D'Rivera and Dave Samuels). He has performed on movie scores, and his compositions have been featured in films such as The Firm and television shows like Designing Women and Going to Extremes. He also has dabbled in advertising music for Apple Computers, Sony, Porsche, and Southwestern Bell.

Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults and $10 for students, senior citizens and children under 12. For tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425, or order online at For more information, call the Southern Miss percussion studio at (601) 266-4993.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM