Strat Andriotis – Night Manager (CD, Dekatria, Guitar/instrumental)
On the very first spin, the initial artist that came to mind while listening to Night Manager was Django Reinhardt. So it came as no surprise when we found his name mentioned in the liner notes. We rarely receive albums like this for review, and it’s probably because there aren’t that many folks at this point in time writing and recording this style of music. Strat Andriotis is one helluva incredible guitarist. His playing is fluid and expressive, and unusually complex and difficult from a player’s perspective. While the Reinhardt comparison certainly holds true, on these tracks that similarity is catapulted into the present making this more of a jazz fusion sort of endeavor. Joining Andriotis on these recordings are Jerry Goodman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Adrean Farrugia. More acute readers/listeners will note that Goodman was the violinist and co-founder of The Flock and also a founding member of Mahavishnu Orchestra.
The press release that accompanied this disc appropriately described the music as ‘gypsy jazz, instrumental, neoclassical guitar, fusion.’ So if any of these are genres that grab your attention, there’s a very good chance you will be adequately impressed by these recordings. There are artists who are all about image and marketing. And then there are artists who are all about the music. Strat Andriotis most definitely fits into the latter category. Precisely executed tracks include “Song 21,” “Secrets,” “Feverpitch,” and “The Arrival.”. Babysue.com
STRAT ANDRIOTIS – Night Manager
Canadian guitar slinger goes back in time and space to immerse himself – and stellar guests – in demimonde delights.
It’s not that easy to be steeped in tradition and continue to push the envelope but difficulties never stopped Strat Andriotis from trying, and as pushing should involve positioning one behind an object, the guitarist does’t mind stepping back. If violin played a prominent part of Strat Andriotis’ previous platter, on the follow-up to “Less Off Patient”he seems to cede the lead to this instrument and settle down for a performing composer’s role – which is hardly surprising, of course, given the violin belongs to Jerry Goodman now – that might explain the album’s title.
Still, the sort of gypsy jazz informing pieces such as “Secrets” has progressive quality to its often unpredictable moves, even though it’s rooted in the Reinhardt-Grappelli ground, and there’s vigorous vitality in the delicate layering of Strat’s strings in “Song 21” where Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s ivories join in for a slightly angular, albeit gracious, dance. When they reach unison, bliss and delight descend on the listener, and not for nothing the record’s finale is a cover of “I Hear A Rhapsody” – Andriotis’ solo outing contrasting the collective approach to other tracks.
So after “Chili’s Blues” was relocated from Chicago to Montmartre to flaunt its filigree licks before discerning bohème, the sparser “Can’t Wait” marries country to can-can, while the electric assault of “Fever Pitch” proposes a surrender in the end, and the chamber vibes of “Avid” offer nocturnal affair. Yet it’s “The Arrival” – an Andriotis and Goodman co-write – that’s the fragile epitome of this album’s emotional, purely European method, and this album may well be the point of the Canadian’s arrival at the fore of the object he’s trying to push.
Finally, Greek-born acoustic guitar maven, STRAT ANDRIOTIS, whose stylistic influences range from Django Reinhardt to John McLaughlin, impresses on an intimate set of Gypsy-jazz-inflected nocturnes called Night Manager ( Dekatria). He’s joined by ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist, Jerry Goodman, and Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, whose unique talents add extra sonic drama to the proceedings. The Record Collector
(1) Song 21; (2) Secrets; Chili’s Blues; (3) Can’t Wait; Avid; Feverpitch; The Arrival; (4) I Hear A Rhapsody (34.33)
Andriotis (g) on all tracks; Jerry Goodman (vln). (1) add Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p). (2) add Adrean Farrugia (p) but omit Rubalco. (3) omit Rubalco and Farrugia. (4) omit Goodman. Ontario, no date, c. 2018.
Strat Andriotis was born in Greece but departed with his parents from there when aged four and is now a resident of Ontario, Canada. As a budding guitarist he was initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, so his forename (or nickname?) seems appropriate. But despite the heavy-metal moniker, on this recording Andriotis plays a Gibson J-200 for the rhythm tracks and a Gibson Super 200 for his lead guitar work. On the Fragos/Baker/Gasparre cover of I Hear A Rhapsody, Andriotis plays solo, multi-tracking the lead and rhythm guitar parts, using a 1964 Gibson Johnny Smith archtop for the job. The primary USP for this album is undoubtedly the collaboration with jazz-rock legend Jerry Goodman who appears on all but one of the tracks and co-wrote The Arrival with Andriotis.
In the guitar and violin interaction there’s a distinct reminder of John McLaughlin’s seminal My Goal’s Beyond (Douglas, 1971) on which Goodman played a memorable role. Night Manager is the follow-up to Andriotis’s previous album, Less Off Patient (2016, Dekatria), which differed from this latest recording by virtue of its piano/violin/guitar configuration throughout, imbuing a rather more classically oriented chamber jazz approach. But here the music is far more bluesy and jazzy than its predecessor. The publicity blurb labels this as “Gypsy Jazz” but that term serves only to assign a hackneyed stereotype and consequently undersells the record. Much better would be to describe this as contemporary acoustic jazz, which it is. But with original compositions predominantly outnumbering standards, fans of gypsy jazz (and others) will undoubtedly enjoy this as a reimagining of the unforgettable pairing of Django Reinhardt and Steìphane Grappelli.
The Jazz Journal December 2018
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Strat Andriotis – ‘Less Off Patient’
Born in Greece and now based out of Canada Strat Andriotis has recorded three albums with pianist Tom Carney and over the last couple years has released Liars Incorporated and his new album Less Off Patient. On the new album the players include Jeff Vidov (piano) and Adrianna Lee (violin).
All three musicians are highly skillful and all are given their moments to shine throughout the album. The music is mainly classical and gypsy inspired jazz with the emphasis on Andriotis’s inhuman and off the charts solo guitar. His lightning fast runs are fluid and clean, his arpeggios and chords clear and crisp. His playing is really phenomenal throughout and is supplemented with Lee’s lush strings and Vidov’s melodic piano. Although the album is dedicated to a good friend who passed away the songs are not depressing in the slightest, in fact they are more triumphant and joyous in mood and tone.
While I am not sure how much playing time this album will get there is no denying its likely appeal to fans of classical music. Fans of acoustic guitar should also check it out.
1. Less Off Patient (2:26)
2. There’s Always Tomorrow (3:58)
3. Grey Song (3:04)
4. A Behaviour Pattern (3:13)
5. The Dimming Light (3:11)
6. 185 To Freedom (3:42)
7. Where It Goes (4:05)
8. Inner Change (4:05)
9. Duet (2:40)
10. Long Days (4:45)
11. Somewhere In Time My Love (2:48)
Added: December 31st 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Strat Andriotis – Less Off Patient (CD-R, Dekatria, Gypsy guitar/modern classical)
This album immediately caught our attention because the music is coming from a different time and space than just about everything we’ve heard over the past few years. An artist whose music seems mainly influenced by Django Reinhardt…? Strange but true. Strat Andriotis and his pals make music that is directly influenced by both Reinhardt and John McLaughlin. And the most amazing part is that…while there are definite similarities…this does not in any way come across like music that is derivative. Joining Andriotis on these recordings are Jeff Vidov on piano and Adrianna Lee on violin. All three players are focused, precise, exacting, and exceedingly talented. This sounds something like a world where gypsy guitar meets modern classical. Intriguing and heady stuff, truly inspired. Eleven well-conceived tracks including “Less Off Patient,” “The Dimming Light,” and “Long Days.” – from babysue.com
Influenced by the great jazz guitar legends from Django Reinhardt to John McLaughlin, Greece-born / Canadian-based guitarist Strat Andriotis is making waves in the music world with his 2016 CD entitled Less Off Patient. The follow up to Strat’s critically acclaimed 2015 CD, Liars Incorporated. Featuring eleven original tracks of enchanting instrumental guitar music, blending Gypsy Jazz and Neoclassical music, on Less Off Patient, Strat is joined by his trio mates Adrianna Lee (violin) and Jeff Vidov (piano).
Speaking to mwe3.com about working with the same musicians on both Liars Incorporated and his 2016 CD, Less Off Patient, Strat adds, “I gave Adrianna more of a featured role, I’m writing her a lot more solos and passages. Because we had all played a few dates together, I think Less Off Patient has more of a freedom to it. Jeff’s piano playing once again is terrific and soul-inspiring – this album came together rather quickly because of our familiarity from playing with each other.” Ripe with imaginative guitar musings that make vintage sounds modern again, Less Off Patient takes 21st century classical music and Gypsy jazz in a bright and bold direction. With eleven tracks that fly by in just over 36 minutes, Less Off Patient features Strat Andriotis recording in Grant Avenue studio in Hamilton, Canada with production by both Strat and Bob Doidge. Strat Andriotis has released two albums over the past few years and, with Less Off Patient he is breaking new ground for both instrumental Gypsy jazz guitar and neoclassical music.
Gypsy Jazz is one of the guitar world’s most treasured art forms and fans and disciples of Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli as well as modern day guitar heroes like John Jorgenson and Biréli Lagrène will enjoy the Euro-flavored guitar music of Strat Andriotis. With eye-catching cover artwork of a hospital patient, Less Off Patient is dedicated to Strat’s late friend Freddy Brown (1939-2016), yet Less Of Patient is clearly a celebration of life and Strat’s guitar music honors the illustrious past.
This article originally appeared on mwe3.com
Fanfare Magazine Review
It’s difficult to know what to make of this album, entitled Liars Incorporated. Strat Andriotis is a classically trained musician who has issued a number of albums and for a number of years was active within the rock band Eleven Degrees. The music is impeccably played, slick and true throughout. The recording is close and involving. Whether one warms to this music depends on one’s views of music that might be termed as, in some ways, crossover.
The album seems heavily influenced by minimalism. The first item, Under, exemplifies this perfectly, with repeated cells threatening to move out of phase and, for some stretches at least, a neutral harmonic language (that is, one that is not overtly directional towards a cadence); Nightboat is a similar summary of techniques on offer here. Easy on the ear, jazz too makes its presence felt, and there are some beautiful guitar solos to this end. Andriotis is clearly a virtuoso par excellence, and the sheer technical excellence of the players, along with their ability to play exactly together, particularly at speed, implies familiarity born of long collaboration. The slightly more angular lines of You Don’t Need Me offer nice contrast, and there is wit in some of the piano interjections; similarly, Move is more experimental in its overt juxtaposition of tempos and moods. The simplicity of the (repeated) opening of The Right Time is most effective, giving way in time to a more variegated surface. The final offering, The Interlude (for all the clowns in my life) showcases Andriotis’s guitar skills at their melancholic best. The sudden introduction of a cello (Bob Doidge) is most effective.
One can only sit and wonder at Andriotis’s clear virtuosity as a guitar player. Musically, do not expect a challenge; rather, revel in the sheer slickness of it all, be that the performance standard or the expert knitting together of a variety of compositional styles. And while the playing time is low, a straight run-through gave the impression it lasts the perfect amount of time.
This article originally appeared in Issue 38:2 (Nov/Dec 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.