Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Bemkey, Andrew, piano, bass clarinet; b. Libertyville, IL, 6 August 1974. The only child of Bruce and Cindy Boehmke (neither of them a musician). He grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He began playing piano as a small child, and after finishing high school, he moved to New York City and studied at the New School Jazz Program with Jaki Byard, Makanda Ken McIntyre, and Reggie Workman. During this time (the mid-9O's), Andrew also began his own band, KinShip, which he maintained for three years, composing original music for the group, playing piano, keyboards, wooden flutes, and small percussion instruments, and sometimes singing. Meanwhile he began playing with Rashied Ali, Andrew Cyrille, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, and William Parker at various gigs including the annual Vision Festivals: At the 2OOO festival he brought in his KinShip trio; in 'O1, he appeared in Rashied Ali's group, and in 'O2 he was the pianist in Roy Campbell, Jr.'s commissioned large-ensemble salute to Art Blakey.
He also played at the 5C Cultural Center (solo piano every Friday since mid-'O1, and continuing), the Empire Diner (solo piano Wednesdays for a year), the Knitting Factory, Lenox Lounge (every Monday night with Campbell), at Princeton and Wesleyan Universities. He plays in nursing homes, hospitals and youth centers, most frequently with singer Ellen Christi, sometimes with Campbell, and at other times with Reggie Workman's groups.
Andrew Bemkey's original music was featured in an off-Broadway play, and later he was heard in the stage band of William Parker's "Dancin' at the Belltown Rack" at Theater for the New City. He has toured with drummer Susie Ibarra, playing duets at HotHouse in Chicago; his travels with alto saxophonist Ori Kaplan's groups led to Rome (the Villa Cellimontana Festival), Finland (Tampere Jazz Happening), and Paris. He has played in a Lawrence "Butch" Morris ensemble in Lisbon (Jazz em Agosto Festival) as well as several in New York.
After 2000 he took up the bass clarinet, and he also plays some acoustic guitar and frame drum, plus a brief studio encounter with a Hammond B3, the latter played for the first time and simultaneously recorded for possible inclusion on a John Zorn recording.
Andrew Bemkey & KinShip: Let's Go Now! (1999, self-produced)
Marya Lawrence: All the Way Back (1998); Ori Kaplan Percussion Ensemble: Gongol (2001), Le Magus (2002)
Rashied Ali w/ Frank Lowe, Jumaane Smith, Andrew Bemkey, Joris Teepe (20O1)