Andre Floyd: Montana's jazz and blues minister
August 28, 2010
Story and photo by Angie Satter
What does it mean to be Montana’s cultural minister?
For André Floyd, his tenure as the cultural minister of Montana began at the tender age of nine, when he met his true love — a guitar. Floyd calls it a perfect match. With a smile he recalls the time in his youth, with his sisters running down the hall, slamming his door and telling him to shut up that twanging coming from his room. His sisters’ music of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield was clashing with the odd likes of Andre’s influences such as Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Dion and Rodney Crowell.
The first music Floyd taught himself on the guitar was from the Monkeys and Herman’s Hermits. Who would have thought some 15 years later in Chicago, he would play with the talents of Greg Allman, Leon Russell and Sam & Dave. Twelve years in Chicago left Floyd yearning for Montana and he returned in 1992. Since his return to Montana he has released three albums, collaborated on special music events and shares his passion in teaching youth at Summit Preparatory School, a therapeutic boarding school for at-risk youth in Kalispell. To Floyd, music is a great healer, a therapeutic intervention.
Proud of his African-American heritage, Floyd casts himself as Montana’s “cultural minister.” With the Montana population just below one million people, Floyd is among the three percent of the state’s population that most people don’t think of when you think of a Montanan. With the French name of André, born in Alabama, raised an Air force kid in far away places like Maine, Germany, and Panama and graduating from high school in Great Falls, you might agree that Floyd’s journey has certainly been cultural.
On the Web: www.andrefloyd.net