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A reliable bassist for decades, Andy Simpkins was on a countless number of live sessions and record dates through the years. He originally played clarinet and piano, switching to bass in 1953 while in the Army. Simpkins came to fame through his association with Gene Harris, being an original member of the 4 Sounds in 1956; the group became the 3 Sounds the following year. Simpkins played with the popular soul-jazz band throughout its prime years, up until 1968. Next for the bassist was a long association with George Shearing (1968-1974). He also worked in the studios, toured with Sarah Vaughan (on and off starting in 1979), and was a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles area. A regular member of the Gerald Wiggins Trio for years, Simpkins recorded with (among many others) Stéphane Grappelli, Monty Alexander, Don Menza, Buddy DeFranco, Wiggins, Vaughan, Shearing, and of course the 3 Sounds. As a leader, he made two dates (1983 and 1989) for Discovery and one for MAMA (1990). Andy Simpkins died of stomach cancer in Los Angeles on June 2, 1999.
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