STRAT ANDRIOTIS
Night Manager
(Dekatria Records)

 

Based way up north in Hamilton Ontario, Canada, guitarist / composer Strat Andriotis returned in 2018 with another album of unique guitar magic called Night Manager. Featuring Strat's guitar backed up by memorable contributions from legendary violinist Jerry Goodman—appearing on seven of the eight tracksand South Florida’s Cuban piano icon Gonzalo Rubalcaba, on one track, Night Manager also spotlights Canadian pianist Adrean Farrugia on a pair of tracks. According to Strat, “Gonzalo and Jerry overdubbed their parts in their studios. The chemistry is pretty amazing. It sounds that we are playing in the same room." Commenting further about Night Manager contributions from violin legend Jerry Goodman, Strat explains, “Jerry's playing sometimes reminds me of Grappelli. You get to hear Jerry play differently than he did with Mahavishnu. But he still lays out those lightning fast runs heard on the early Mahavishnu recordings! “The Arrival” is a song that Jerry's melody became the hook.” A perfect example of smart musicianship and recording in an age where musicians, with the help of untold futuristic technology, can record an album with other musicians thousands of miles apart, Night Manager perfects this releatively recent recording art form and makes it a fantastic reality. The sound of the eight cut album is so perfectly designed so you can almost hear the rosin flying off of Jerry’s violin bow, while the elegant piano work of Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Adrean Farrugia tastefully adds to the excitement of Strat’s guitar wizardry. Although Strat is also a gifted pianist, it’s really his guitar work that is central to the overall success of the Night Manager sound. The intense swing of the recording may seem overwhelming to music lovers at times, but the beauty of Night Manager comes with repeated listening. With sheet music and expert musicians on hand to expedite the realization and recording process, Night Manager stays up after hours but Strat's late night guitar action is well worth it. www.stratmusic.com

 





mwe3.com presents an interview with
STRAT ANDRIOTIS


mwe3
: Sounds like you’re happy with the way the Night Manager album turned out. And Jerry told me he was happy to be part of the album. You mentioned your manager helped arrange to bring Jerry Goodman into the recording, so can you tell the readers how Night Manager all started to come together?

Strat Andriotis: I recorded my tracks first. Jerry Goodman was my first choice to use as the violinist. I loved his playing on John McLaughlin’s “New York On My Mind” from the Electric Guitarist album and the Mahavishnu Orchestra Live In Central Park album. We kept in contact with Jerry for a couple of months before he decided to record. I thought at the time if we can get Jerry to play on a couple of songs that would be great. He ended up playing on basically the whole album. I think he enjoyed himself.

mwe3: For an album that was mostly recorded in three separate locales, the Night Manager tracks link up perfectly and it sounds like the musicians are all recording together in the same room. Who did the final mix on the album and who else do you credit with shaping the Night Manager sound you wanted even to the final mastering which you had done at Abbey Road studios in England.

Strat Andriotis: A click track was recorded before the actual recording to keep time. The rest are the performances of the musicians. There were minimal edits. I had sheet music as well for a guide. The final mix was done by Wayne Cochrane, an excellent engineer. My good friend David King helped as well with some suggestions. My tracks and Adrean’s tracks were recorded at David’s studio 51 Sounds. Sean Magee did the mastering.

mwe3: When did you know that you wanted to have Jerry Goodman play on the album? You featured violinist Adriana Lee on the 2016 album Less Off Patient, as well as on Liars Incorporated. I think Jerry’s performance and playing on Night Manager will be of major interest to fans of his early works with John McLaughlin.

Strat Andriotis: I had Jerry in mind when writing most of the compositions. Where on Liars Incorporated and Less Off Patient I wrote out the solos for Adrianna; this album I didn’t have to. Jerry is an exceptional improviser when it comes to solos. His tone and performances are overwhelming. Fans of Jerry will be happy to hear him play some amazing passages. He goes through jazz, rock, blues, bluegrass and classical with so much passion. He is spotlighted quite a bit on Night Manager.

mwe3: How much of the music on Night Manager is based around constructed / written melodic lines and how much is based around improvisations? You have said earlier, the song melody is the most important aspect of your music, but you wrote all the chord charts too.

Strat Andriotis: I write the chords and melodies and leave the solos to the musician’s discretions. Most of the album was written on guitar with the exception of “Chili’s Blues”. That was all piano. Usually the chords comes first then the melody.

mwe3: The guitars you feature on Night Manager are the Gibson J-200 for your rhythm tracks. What do you like best about the J-200 and how does that guitar compare with the other guitars you play on the album, including, the Gibson Super 200 and the 1964 Gibson Johnny Smith guitar? Which strings do you prefer and how often do you restring your guitars? On Night Manager did you mostly use a pick or are you playing some finger style too and how do you keep your fretboard skills in shape?

Strat Andriotis: The J200 is a versatile acoustic guitar with rich bottom tones that resonate. The Super 200 is a beauty with a cutaway for extended up the fretboard access. Gibson discontinued the Super 200 a few years ago. It has an ebony fretboard that responds well to my style of playing. I mostly use a pick especially when soloing and tend to use my fingers for chord playing. You have to practice intensely to keep yourself in guitar shape when you are moving around a lot of chord changes and different keys. I tend to go through strings pretty rapidly. The Johnny Smith is an incredible instrument. Beautiful jazz tones out of that guitar. I have been playing that guitar the most lately. 12 to 52 gauge strings.

mwe3: “Avid” is the first track I heard from the album. Avid is a good word for this song, as you cater to avid listeners! The track is a duet between you and Jerry Goodman. The vibe on “Avid” is very Django-esque. What was your frame of mind and were there any other compositional references on “Avid”?

Strat Andriotis: That is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. Basically, some jazz chords with some classical reference and a couple of diminished chords that I guess give it a little Django flavor. Jerry’s violin playing is exquisite on this song. He plays so passionate. Sounds like he is making the violin cry. Quite breathtaking.

mwe3: “Can’t Wait” is another Gypsy Jazz sounding classic. Is that one of the more upbeat Night Manager tracks? Just curious, did Jerry gave you any feedback on any of the songs before or after he added his violin parts? Sounds like Jerry is having a great time recording his “Can’t Wait” part.

Strat Andriotis: This tune really reminds me of movie music from the 1930’s and 40’s. A strong bluegrass feel with some humor. Jerry shows a little Grappelli influence on this one. Fun song. Jerry seemed to like this one.

mwe3: “Chili’s Blues” features Jerry and Adrean Farrugia. Tell us about recording with Adrean as you said you did the tracks with him live in the studio. Jerry’s violin is truly superb sounding on this track. Overall, did you set out to make some very dramatic sounding music on Night Manager?

Strat Andriotis: Adrean recorded his piano parts separate from my guitar. I had recorded the original piano parts and Adrean replaced them with his awesome performance. I dedicated that tune to my friend Neil Brown. It has a little Thelonious Monk feel to it. Jazzy blues tune. Yeah, I guess it is a little dramatic sounding.

mwe3: Tell us about “Fever Pitch”. The guitars are quite active and then the violin comes in to calm things down but then things really take off with the guitar / violin interplay.

Strat Andriotis: There are few key changes that adhere for some nice moving solos from the violin and guitar. The pace has a nice feel to the song kind of a gallup or trot. The ending is slow and dramatic for the finale.

mwe3: When did you decide to record the 1941 hit song “I Hear A Rhapsody” and what about playing the 1964 Johnny Smith guitar on that track? Can you tell us about that song and do you have a favorite recorded version of it? Were there any challenges in recording a completely solo version of the track?

Strat Andriotis: I decided to record the song in early 2018. The Johnny Smith has that classic jazz guitar sound of the 1960’s, which I love and I think works with mood of the song. My favorite version is by Bill Evans and Jim Hall from the album Undercurrent. I recorded the rhythm track with no pick. The lead was done with a pick. I like the two track approach on this. It’s a little different but I think the feel is basically there.

mwe3: “Secrets” the most dramatic sounding track on Night Manager. Sounds like you, Jerry and Adrean strike a sympathetic chord on that track. What is the secret between writing effective memorable track like “Secrets”? Did Jerry or Adrean mention anything about the “Secrets” track?

Strat Andriotis: There really wasn’t any formula for writing that tune. You come up with progressions that you think sound satisfying and you hope people like it. I think Jerry and Adrean like that song. Adrean does some nice comps over Jerry’s and my solo sections.

mwe3: The track that features Jerry and Gonzalo Rubalcaba is amazing sounding. How did “Song 21” end up with both Jerry and Gonzalo and how did you come up with the song title? How would you describe the chord charts and melodic style on “Song 21”?

Strat Andriotis: That song was a pleasure. Having Gonzalo and Jerry on the same tune was a big treat for me. Two icons playing some amazing performances. Originally I was going to have Gonzalo and myself play the track because I didn’t know at the time how many songs Jerry wanted to do. It worked great that both played on the song. Title came up on my 1680 Roland as the demo version. When you create a new song on that machine it comes up with a number first. That happened to be the next random number. The song has a little Latin jazz feel to it especially with the syncopated rhythm.

mwe3: Is “The Arrival” is pure genius. How did that come about and does the title signify something special? You overdubbed two guitar parts that sounds like double counter point to Jerry’s violin. How did the track evolve into its final version?

Strat Andriotis: I named that song after the birth of my nephew Nicholas. Jerry wrote that cool melody that is played a few bars into the song and also at the end. The song evolved when Jerry came up with that hook. Beautiful tones from Jerry on this one.

mwe3: In some ways, musicians are night managers. Also can you say something about the CD cover art and how did the ominous looking cover originate?

Strat Andriotis: The cover was shot by Richard Hind at a location pretty close to my house. I love cool covers on albums. Liars Incorporated and Less Off Patient are in the same category. My picture at the end of that tunnel is ominous for sure and that was the feel we were going for.

mwe3: What other plans do you have for Night Manager for the rest of 2018? How about videos, live performances and live radio performances with Jerry in Oregon and Gonzalo in South Florida.

Strat Andriotis: We will promote the album in the next few months and see. If we can give the project some legs I will try for some shows in Canada in the fall. If things pan out maybe a more elaborate tour next summer. I would have to see what the schedule would be for Jerry, Gonzalo and Adrean or if they would be interested in playing some live shows.

Visit Strat Andriotis on Bandcamp



 

 
   
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