Andrew Missingham

Andrew MissinghamAndrew Missingham discovered early in life that making music was all he really wanted to do. While at Middlesex Polythechnic completing a degree in performance arts, he experimented with a wide variety of instruments and realised that he had been blessed with a highly-developed sense of natural rhythm. He took formal drumming lessons and, by the time he graduated, was a highly accomplished drummer with a comprehensive knowledge of the arts. 

This was to stand him in good stead. At college, Andrew met Tony Coleman with whom he formed IZIT in 1988. The hugely influential single, 'Stories' conquered clubland and established IZIT as a first class drum 'n' bass-led dance outfit who could deliver the goods live. He found himself increasingly in demand, working with Raw Stylus, Senser, Allison Limerick, Labi Siffre and others. As Musical Director, Andrew set up M.C. Solaar for his MTV appearance and, as drummer and arranger, led Urban Species into their first two UK tours. He was the Acid Jazz house producer for a while, recording in his occasional guise as the Black Widow, and has played live with the hottest musicians of the moment, including Young Disciples and Guru of Gang Starr. A crowning achievement was bringing together musicians and vocalists from the entire jazz spectrum together for the classic Shape Of Things To Come performances sponsored by Straight No Chaser in 1994. Andrew collected together the cream of young jazz talent in London, plus some players who were passing through, for the series of wild jam sessions that took place at Giles Peterson's club, That's How It Is, which resulted in two releases. His first encounter with M.E.L.T. (then B&W Music) was an invitation to remix Flora Purim's 1994 tune, Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly(BW061). Subsequently, he became an enthusiastic recruit to the Outernational Meltdown project, visiting South Africa with Airto Moreira in October, 1994, for revolutionary series of recordings with the likes of Sipho Gumede and Madala Kunene. "What happened there was really strange," Andrew remembers. "I took a very backseat position - and everybody who knows me knows that's very unlike me - because I just wanted to watch, to see what was going on. Also, the other thing was that the collaborative nature of those recordings came over to a certain extent, but to a certain extent it didn't. So, a lot of the time we found ourselves listening to what the South African musicians wanted to play and being a forum for them to express themselves." The recordings were not a one off, lightning strikes mission, but part of an ongoing process. The Meltdown sparked off a relationship between the younger players and whetted Andrew Missingham's appetite for further collaboration. As a result, in January, 1995, he left London with sax man Chris Bowden and bassist Ike Leo for Jo'burg to work with the late Moses Molelekwa, Mxolise 'Dave' Mayekana and Max Matumbo on a project called Barungwa. Having met for the first time in a recording studio and made their first album, The Messengers(BW070) in fifteen days flat, the band played six dates in South Africa in the summer of 1996, culminating with a standout show at the Durban Jazz Festival and played gigs in Europe at the end of the year. "The fact that we only meet to make music and we've travelled a long way to be together means that the situation is quite charged; it's exciting when we meet," says Andrew. Andrew has also worked with the Icelandic group, Mezzoforte and contributed to Pops Mohamed's album, How Far Have We Come?(BW088).