Andreas Varady debut at Ronnie Scott’s

Andreas Varady, late of this parish, made his debut at Ronnie Scott’s on March 21st.  The gig received a four star review from Jack Massarick, jazz critic of the London Evening Standard and regular contributor to BBC Radio 3.

Andreas Varady has a slick all-round technique

Andreas Varady

Self-taught: Andreas Varady

By Jack Massarik
22 Mar 2011

“We’ve had many childish musicians up here but no actual children,” said manager Simon Cooke while introducing 13-year-old Andreas Varady to Ronnie Scott‘s last night.

It was a quip worthy of the club’s founder, but the boy took it with a grin. Though hardly visible behind his semi-acoustic guitar, this fresh-faced, self-taught youngster did enough in the next hour to be regarded as a genuine prodigy.

Born to a Slovakian family in Romaniaand now living in Ireland, he is bright but no brat. “I’m grateful to have worked with such great players asMartin Taylor, Louis Stewart and Andreas Oberg,” he acknowledged in an unbroken yet firm voice.

Backed by US bassist Michael Janisch, Ulsterman David Lyttle on drums and his father Bandi Varady on rhythm guitar, Andreas nimbly negotiated two testing jazz standards, Donna Lee and Giant Steps. Much had been made of his gipsy heritage, yet I heard less Django Reinhardt than George Benson and Wes Montgomery.

Entire chunks of their phraseology peppered his work, but more significant was his slick all-round technique and strong rhythmic impetus, assets which cannot be taught. A superstar? Not yet, but the makings
are definitely there.