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Andy Mackay Biography

Band Biographies



Andy Mackay is the saxophone, oboe and keyboard player with Roxy Music and is also an accomplished composer, scoring work for TV as well as working as a session player with a plethora of bands and musicians. Andy Mackay was born on the 23rd of July 1946, in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England, and was originally a classical musician before switching to the rock idiom. While at Reading University, Andy Mackay played saxophone in a R&B band - the Nova Express. After answering an advertisement placed by Bryan Ferry, he was offered a place in Roxy Music. Within a year and a half, the band were acclaimed as one of the most exciting new prospects on the UK rock scene. Much of their power came from the breathtaking saxophone work of Andy Mackay. His expertise on the very 'un-rock and roll' oboe was also valuable to the Roxy sound, and he provided additional keyboard support to both Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno. His powerful stage presence, matinee idol looks and highly individual sense of dress and hairstyle (his Star Trek pointed sideburns were de rigeur!) all further enhanced the Roxy appeal as did his trademark stage 'duckwalk' during solos, aping the antics of Chuck Berry.

By 1974, such was the credibility his name had gained, that in he was able to release a solo album - In Search Of Eddie Riff. With a wealth of backing musicians, including Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, Eddie Jobson, Paul Thompson and John Porter, Mackay recorded an instrumental album on which he demonstrated his musical talent. It was an idiosyncratic work containing a selection of rock numbers and updated classics such as Jimmy Ruffin's 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?' and the Beatles' 'The Long And Winding Road'. The classical pieces featured an arrangement of Schubert's 'An Die Musik' and a startling adaptation of Wagner's 'Ride Of The Valkyries'. The musical concoction was completed by some self-penned compositions, most notably, 'Pyramid Of The Night (Past, Present And Future)'.

In addition to composing the music for the highly successful television series Rock Follies in liason with lyricist Howard Schumann during Roxy Music's temporary hiatus of 1976-78; which resulted in the considerable kudos of a No 1 album in the British charts; he also worked with Mott The Hoople, John Cale and Pavlov's Dog and produced and played on Eddie And The Hot Rods' reworking of 'Wooly Bully'. In 1978, a second album of saxophone instrumentals emerged with Resolving Contradictions, an album which was heavily influenced by Chinese culture. The saxophonist also wrote a well regarded history of Electronic Music, published in 1982. He also made a significant contribution to Roxy Music's valedictory album, Avalon, including co-writing a haunting instrumental - Tara. In 1984, In the wake of Roxy's split, he formed the Explorers with Phil Manzanera and released a couple of albums.In 2001 he resurfaced, having lain low for many years, during which he had worked on solo, session and compositional work, to take part as one of the four original members participating in Roxy Music's world tour, with a series of bravissimo performances reiterating his standing as a musician. His association with Roxy Music continued into 2003 when further shows in the United States were scheduled; his distinctive contributions on saxophone and oboe remaining a quintessential part of the Roxy Music sound.


Andy Mackay's illustrated singles discography

Andy Mackay's illustrated album discography

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