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Andriotis, Strat: Night Manager

Strat Andriotis, born in Greece and now residing in Hamilton, Ontario, has released three albums with pianist Tom Carney as well as three solo albums beginning with Liars Incorporated (2014), Less Off Patient (2016) and his new release Night Manager. I became familiar with the artist after reviewing the Less Off Patient album.

The new album explores gypsy flavoured jazz and features Andriotis’ outstanding acoustic guitar along with violin courtesy of Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Flock). Adrean Farrugia and Gonzalo Rubalcaba add piano on three tracks.

This is a very tastefully executed acoustic album with the pairing of acoustic guitar and violin working remarkably well. Andriotis’ guitar virtuosity shines on the first track “Song 21” also featuring a tasty piano solo from Rubalcaba. Add Goodman’s violin solo to Andriotis’ fast guitar licks and you have the makings of some fine jazz fusion music. The violin on “Secrets” is quite intense and the fast guitar runs make for another nice slice of gypsy influenced jazz. The next two tracks; “Chili’s Blues” and “Can’t Wait” have a bluesier touch. The easy flowing arrangements, including some excellent piano from Farrugia on “Chili’s Blues” is pure class. One of the prettiest tracks is “Avid” where the violin and guitar work marvelously together, each taking turns with some incredibly fast runs without losing the nuanced melodies along the way. Another highlight has to be Goodman’s violin tones in “Feverpitch”, the song’s title telling you all you need to know.

Night Manager is a very nice acoustic jazz album, superbly produced and arranged with great musicianship throughout. Fans of acoustic guitar will want to give this some attention. Recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Song 21
2. Secrets
3. Chili’s Blues
4. Can’t Wait
5. Avid
6. Feverpitch
7. The Arrival
8. I Hear A Rhapsody

Added: March 30th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1665
Language: english

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Andriotis, Strat: Night Manager
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-03-30 01:00:41
My Score:

Showcasing his jaw dropping acoustic guitar talent, Strat Andriotis teams up with violinist Jerry Goodman to call on the Night Manager. Also in attendance are pianists Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Adrean Farrugia. And this merry band quickly lead us into the third in a series of gypsy jazz style instrumental based albums that eagerly push at the boundaries of the traditional approach and in the end evolve into almost progressive, acoustic-shred gypsy jazz rock. There’s a lot going on here and yet at the same time the end results can still at times feel pleasingly small and intimate.

Across the album seven original compositions are revealed, alongside a solo cover from Andriotis of the 1942 piece “I Hear A Rhapsody”, and together the collection draws comparisons to the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt or Stephan Grappelli. However, that vintage world is then keenly presented through an excellent and sparkling production that moves things into a different, separate sphere altogether.

At times the melodies across some of these pieces can be overpowered by the sheer virtuosity on display, with tumbles of notes barely kept in check, but if this style is something you are already familiar with then it will be no great surprise to encounter. However, there’s a warmth and authenticity brought into focus that breaks down some of these barriers and welcomes you in. Running to just under 35 minutes, there’s also an old school feel that allows you to quickly get to know the music at hand and while it can at times be just a touch too stark for its own good, there’s no denying the great skill and heart behind it.

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