Growing up in Germany, bassist Andy Galore felt the lure of New York City as he watched episodes of Kojak on TV. He eventually made his way to the city in the early 1990s, where he quickly became an in-demand sideman, eventually playing with a diverse list of artists ranging from Kid Creole to Al Di Meola to Buddy Miles. Setting up headquarters at the 55 Bar in the West Village, he met Mike Stern and spent the next 12 years regularly jamming in the guitarist’s nearby apartment. Galore recently released his leader debut, Out & About (Motéma), a groove-heavy electric date featuring a host of heavy-hitters with whom he’s worked over the years, including Stern, Oz Noy, Jason Lindner, Joel Frahm, Richard Bona, Kenny Wollesen and Gregory Hutchinson. —Shaun Brady
What were the aspects of New York City that you were looking to capture on Out & About?
I’ve been in the city for 20 years and I’ve done all kinds of gigs. I’ve played everywhere from CBGBs to the Blue Note, the East Village to the West Village and everything in between. My record is kind of a business card of all my influences. I don’t think in categories; basically I’m a sideman, so I do everything. But I enjoy music that comes from the heart, and I wanted to get that out on my record.
What did you see on Kojak that so attracted you to the city?
I fell in love with ’70’s New York. That’s still my favorite time, when it was really happening, before 42nd Street looked like Disneyland. I was really lucky, because I caught the tail end of the cool New York. I got here in 1994, so 42nd Street was still dirty and there were a lot of clubs. I had the chance to play CBGBs, The Wetlands, The Bottom Line. A couple years later, all those places folded. I wish I would’ve been born 20 years earlier.
You studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the New School, but focused on the electric bass. Why did you steer away from playing acoustic?
For me, the interesting thing was to study with people like Reggie Workman, Cecil McBee and Buster Williams, and try to get their upright feel on the electric bass. It’s really hard to make the electric bass swing.
So much of the album combines odd meters with funky grooves. What attracts you to that tension?
I like when it’s not always so predictable where the downbeat is. The challenge was to make it soulful and not so hoity-toity heady. I want you to be able to move your body to it. When you see a bunch of young chicks dancing to a complicated thing, that’s a much bigger compliment than a couple of musicians coming up after the show and saying, “Man, that’s so clever.”