Jersey Jazz Magazine

Recently I was introduced to vocalist ANDREA CARLSON at a social occasion.  She took the occasion to give to me a copy of her recent CD, Love Can Be So Nice (Self-Produced).  She was a pleasant young lady, but I had no idea of what to expect when I popped the disc into my player.  Well the album proved to be a delight from start to finish.  A group of musicians whom she has dubbed the Love Police are used in various combinations on the album.  They include Dave Posmontier on piano, Larry McKenna on tenor sax, Stan Slotter on trumpet and flute, Kevin MacConnell on bass, David “Bopdrummer” Yager on percussion, Alfonso Ponticelli on guitar, Mac Given on clarinet, Rick Shryock on violin, Jacques Pellarin or Steve Rice on accordion, Ken Ulansey on alto sax, and Cecilia Zabala on guitar and vocal.  On most tracks, Carlson plays acoustic guitar as well as singing.  The program includes a variety of standards, French chanson, and well-crafted Carlson originals.  Carlson has a distinct voice that adapts nicely to the jazz style standards and original songs, as well as the French material that she sings in a manner that is at once comfortable and appealing.  Her sound is distinct, at times reflective of the influence of Billie Holiday, and with a timbre that occasionally is reminiscent of Wesla Whitfield. Love Can Be So Nice is nice indeed!  (

Up Close and Acoustic

“'Andrea Carlson once told me that the first time she heard jazz, she was in love. Well, the first time I heard Andrea Carlson, I was in love. I don’t think anyone has ever hooked me with their music as quickly as Andrea did with hers. If you like music and songs that can whisk you away from all of your problems, away from your very era; songs that soothe and entertain; songs that tell a story, break your heart, then return you safely to the 21st century with your toe tapping and your fingers drumming on the table… Well, let’s just say, you’ll love Andrea Carlson too.' ”

Chestnut Hill Local

Multi-talented jazz artist to perform Feb 3


Songwriting award winner Andrea Carlson will bring her jazzy sounds to The Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Rd., Cheltenham, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.

Songwriting award winner Andrea Carlson will bring her jazzy sounds to The Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Rd., Cheltenham, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.

by Len Lear

Google the name Andrea Carlson, and you can listen to the extraordinary sounds of the multi-talented guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Andrea Carlson (also a brilliant artist and mother of four), who will be performing with her band, Love Police, in the “Jazz  in Cheltenham” series at The Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Rd., Cheltenham, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Carlson moved all around the country growing up. (When asked her age, she said, “Hmmmm … 28; that’s how old I feel.”) A singer and jazz buff, Andrea moonlighted as a vocalist throughout her studies with several different bands, doing music from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. This continued for 10 years, and she was able to perform in many of the top venues and festivals. A highlight was opening for the one and only James Brown!

“I was in a fabulous band called Airflow Deluxe in Chicago,” she explained. “It was a ‘little’ eight-piece Big Band fronted with four vocalists, and I was one of them. We did four-part harmony in music that spanned from the ’20s though the ’40s. The whole band was flown to Forth Worth, Texas, for a private event that featured James Brown. I have never experienced so much electricity from any performer ever. But then, I was standing less that 10 feet away from him!”

After moving to the Philadelphia area in 2008 because her husband, Rich, got a job here, she began to perform solo, using her classical guitar skills to accompany her singing jazz standards. She soon found herself writing extra lyrics to the songs, and through this experience she began composing songs of her own. 

In 2009, Andrea entered a songwriting contest on a whim and was a winner in the Philadelphia Songwriter’s Project. She also won a songwriting contest for the 2012 Montgomery/Bucks Music Awards with her song, “Mysterious Moon.” (Check it out on YouTube.)

“Winning these contests gave me confidence that I may be on the right path,” she said in an interview last week. “I had only written four songs when I entered the first contest. I also received some high-profile shows at the time, like The Philly Folk Festival and MusikFest. That exposure lead to press and then more work.”

Andrea’s music is retro, jazzy, bluesy and romantic. Her sultry and playful vocals have been described by some reviewers as “quick and witty, in the vein of Cole Porter” and her classically-trained guitar style as “channeling Django Reinhardt!”

Andrea has performed in many venues throughout the Philadelphia area (including Paris Bistro), New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Chicago and L.A. She has also performed throughout Europe since 2013 — in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Edinburgh, etc. As of 2015, she is an official part of the Fringe Festival Edinburgh. (She also teaches three days a week at Settlement Music School in Germantown.)

How did her European musical experiences begin? “For a year I saved all I could. The planning of the trip at first was simple; I would play music on the streets in any city where I might know someone. To help with costs, my first year I stayed with friends or friends of friends. I was in Europe for almost six weeks. To my astonishment (I am still amazed), my experience was far beyond just busking!

“In 2013 I played in venues and house concerts in France, England, Amsterdam, Germany, Brussels, Spain and Scotland! Although I felt no trip could be as magical, I just had to back the next summer. Because of the connections from the first trip, the second was much easier to book, and I stayed almost two months. I revisited some of the same countries but added Austria, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Last year I only went to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival but played 22 shows in 15 days!”

As a singer, Andrea was inspired by her mother, who “had the most beautiful, soulful voice. Growing up, she wanted to be a singer, but her father wouldn’t allow it. I still remember her singing fondly and that she only did it when ironing. She ironed with perfection. I’m sure the singing had everything to do with that. Her singing style was warm and gentle. I loved her dear voice.”

Of all Andrea’s musical experiences, the following just might be the most memorable: “I had just arrived in Bratislava by boat on the Danube from Vienna. I hadn’t reserved a place to stay, so I went to the town center to look around. There, two women were trying to get a picture of them together in front of a fountain. Our eyes met, they waved at me and asked if I would take a picture of them. I said yes. They saw the guitar on my back and asked about it. I told them I played jazz, wrote songs and sang. One of them said she was good friends with a famous Slavic jazz singer/musician and that I should meet him.

“She invited me to go to her friend’s house ‘in the forest’ for a party and said the jazz artist would be there. They picked me up at my hostel that night. After an hour’s drive, we arrived at a cottage that looked like it came out of a 1920s’ story book. There was food and wine but a lot of struggle with the language barrier! They had me sing and play; no longer was language an issue. They had me sing and play song after song. Then the jazz artist, Peter Lipa, who is almost the Tony Bennett of Slovakia, asked me to play with him the next night at a sold-out concert at Theater Malá Scéna in Bratislava. I was stunned, to say the least. And there’s much more to the story.”

Regarding Andrea’s stunning artwork, which can be viewed on her website, she started out as an art major at Columbia College in Chicago before switching to a degree in classical guitar at the American Conservatory of Music. She has had exhibits of her artwork and has worked on private commissions.

Carlson is currently recording a new CD at MorningStar Studios in Ambler and hopes to have it released by March of this year! Tickets for the Feb. 3 concert are $10 general admission/$5 for students and are only available at the door. More info at 856-858-8914, 215-517-8337 or

Adore Jazz 1.FM

Andrea Carlson delivers her beautiful tunes with her warm and coy voice. Carlsons’ words cater for the counterpoint: witty, funny and full of life. A delight to the ear in which they touch down.

Guy Zinger, Station Manager, Adore Jazz on 1.FM / Writer All About Jazz

Midweek Wire, Bucks County

WireENTERTAINMENT – Andrea Carlson’s connections in music



It’s obvious to say that sound is integral to music. But there’s a specific link that drives Andrea Carlson to create her own.

“I think in music it’s all about the sound, where we find a connection with sound,” explained the composer, singer and guitarist. “For me, the minute I heard jazz, I guess I was in seventh grade, I had come across a friend’s grandmother’s Andrews Sisters records. I thought, ‘What is that?’ I just loved it. It made me want to explore more.”

Carlson is certainly still delving into that music: she’s currently recording her second record, another excursion into pre-bop jazz that also betrays her “Tennessee roots” along with hints of blues and other elements.

That’s the music she’s bringing to Puck Live in Doylestown this week: A handful of her acoustic guitar-driven original numbers that recall Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald, mixed with standards from those singers’ heydays, and augmented by a band that brings each performance alive in different ways.

But that’s only one part of her musical story. Long before Carlson was creating her own songs, she was singing other people’s in various touring ensembles. And, in between those engagements, she was honing an altogether different craft, one she studied formally for years.

“I was very focused on being the greatest classical guitarist. I wanted to do that so much, and I still work at that,” she explained. “It was like I had two different worlds. They were separate for a long time.”

Those lines began to blur six years ago, when she started composing on a whim at first, but seriously very soon after that.

“I didn’t even know I could do it. It was, I tried it out, and was like a flood. All of a sudden, inspiration came, and a lot of songs came out,” said Carlson. “It was pretty amazing to realize I could do that. I’d just brushed it off before.”

The revelation all but turned her career on its head. Carlson cut back on classical recitals and traded in putting her own stamp on famous songs for writing her own.

That effort’s found her back in the studio starting late last year with “The Big 29.” That was the date in October when she tracked her new songs with a band live in the studio, as opposed to multi-tracking like she did on her debut disc, Drivin’ Myself Wild For You.

The new album, she said, will better capture the immediacy and spontaneity of a live performance. It will also showcase more of her guitar playing and connections she’s made to new sounds during her frequent performances in Europe.

“One of the aspects that has really entered into my life is the influence of French music,” Carlson explained. “For me, personally, it’s a wonderful exploration. It’s like the Great American Songbook, but with a twist. Their music is not written with the same kind of formulas that ours are written in. And on top of that, the language is so beautiful.”

Andrea Carlson will perform at Puck Live, 1 Printer’s Alley in Doylestown, on Friday, Jan. 29. For information, visit or

Marple Newtown Patch

Andrea Carlson's voice is sweet and stylistic; you can't help but think of scenes where jazz singers perform at supper clubs in black and white Hollywood movies. Her lyrics are quick and witty in the vein of Cole Porter, but her classically trained guitar skills channel Django Reinhardt. 

Carlson's album Drivin' Myself Wild for You is a quirky homage to songs about love gone right and love gone wrong. Songs like "Love Police" have a playful vibe like Louis Prima, but despite the light-heartedness, Carlson's talent on guitar always shines through. Her sound and persona is perfect for the time period she evokes on stage.