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.