Andrew Renfroe is best known as a first-call guitarist for artists including Braxton Cook, Keyon Harrold, Carmen Lundy, Rachel Eckroth, Ben Williams, Tia Fuller, Ned Goold and Jonathan Barber. A native of Jupiter, Florida, now based in Los Angeles by way of New York City, he is a bandleader of growing stature whose 2020 EP Dark Grey and 2021 full-length debut Run in the Storm have brought his interpretive and compositional gifts and complex yet highly melodic playing into stark relief.
His guitar influences are decidedly rootsier and more blues-based, less liquid and ethereal, than what is common in today’s young jazz guitar field—qualities reflected on Small Vacation, his intimate quasi-acoustic duo set with bassist Luke Sellick, released in November 2020. Renfroe has also made vital contributions to recordings by Carmen Lundy (the Grammy-nominated Modern Ancestors), saxophonist Braxton Cook (Fire Sign, Somewhere In Between, No Doubt), pianist/keyboardist/vocalist Taber Gable (Hidden Driveways) and drummer Curtis Nowosad (eponymous).
Renfroe holds an MM from the Juilliard Jazz Studies program (2016) and a Bachelor of Music (2013) from the renowned Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz in Hartford, Connecticut; in 2013 he was also chosen to attend the esteemed Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. His projects as a leader reflect his diverse influences: a reimagining of Delta blues legend and originator Son House’s music through the aesthetic of the John Coltrane Quartet, an exploration of traditional music from Burkina Faso and Mali in a modern jazz quartet setting, inventive arrangements of bluegrass, country, roots music and hymns and arrangements of Olivier Messiaen’s magisterial works for organ. All of these projects were presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Renfroe’s additional sideman credits, a testament to his range and versatility, include Billy Childs, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Ugonna Okegwo, Javon Jackson, Terrace Martin, Mike LeDonne, JD Allen, Gerry Gibbs, David Weiss and Point of Departure, Jonathan Pinson’s Boom Clap, Arnold Lee and countless others.