• Sweden edition
 
The American who keeps Stockholm swinging

The American who keeps Stockholm swinging

Published: 11 Jun 2010 11:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Jun 2010 11:01 GMT+02:00

American Jazz maverick Andy Fite formed part of the opening night line-up at Stockholm’s latest addition to the local jazz scene. The new club, entitled ‘Keep Swinging’, is quaintly located in Slakthusområdet, the meat-packing district close to Globen.

Fite, who played some sets with Jerry Stensen, Per Nilsson, and Uffe Flink, had the audience responding with recognition and delight to his mixture of mad-cap songs, traditional jazz pieces and wild flights of improvisational fancy.   

While the atmosphere at ‘Keep Swinging’ is unpretentious and true to the club’s name, the average age of these jazz lovers was well over fifty.

“There is a strong tendency in Sweden towards age segregation, and this generation took jazz as the banner of their rebellion when they were young. The generation that followed had to make their own break with the past, and that included leaving jazz behind,” says Fite.

And so nurturing young talent is another of his many endeavours, both as a teacher and at the monthly open mike sessions at Aguéli, a groovy little café on Södermalm. The ‘No Paper Jam’ nights attract a more mixed audience, with young students jamming away with the older generation.  

“I also started these open mike nights at Aguéli because I missed the unbridled musical sharing that was part of my experience in New York”, says Fite.

 

He was born and raised in Pittsburgh and in his twenties he moved to New York and furthered his trade at the musical feet of Connie Crothers. Soon he was playing regularly with a number of close friends to the late pianist Lennie Tristano, one of Fite’s personal heroes and great source of inspiration.

“Tristano said the greatest thing you ever did is the true measure of your ability. And when you know that and truly believe it, you’ll find your way back to that state of being much more easily and consistently. And then you’ll still have inspired moments, which in turn you will understand to be your new real level”.

 

He describes himself as a Jazz Comic Philosopher, and a musical evening with Fite is like a rollercoaster ride of deep musical and philosophical contemplation, interspersed with rounded belly laughs, and outrageous anecdotes about his early days on the New York jazz scene:

“In Jazz improvisation, anything can happen, and moments of brilliance can emerge as artists let go of what they have been taught and place themselves in a constant uninterrupted flow, a creative state that feels to me like channelling a cosmic energy. Connie opened my eyes to the possibility of communicating pure life energy through music; that ultimately the feeling we express includes not only emotion, but physical sensation, intuition, and at the deepest level, soul.

“Our very identity is communicated. Which is why, I think, so many of us have the feeling that we actually know those artists we love the most. It’s because we really do. This is especially true for jazz improvisation, where there is no place for the left brain”.

For a rare moment he falls silent as he remembers how profoundly this affected him, and then he grins; “basically, she taught me to breathe”.  

He has written over 400 songs, in which he offers a rich repertoire of satirical, political, social, sexual and philosophical commentary, accompanied by an almost symbiotic relationship with his favourite instrument, the guitar. Songs with titles such as Sex With My Ex, I Wanna Die, and It Was Really Your Roommate I Wanted, combine bittersweet reality with humour and self deprecating insight.  

I imagine the New York jazz scene to be a world apart from tonight’s gig in the suburbs of Stockholm, and I ask Fite what, if anything, unites the two. Without hesitation he answers “People”. 

“People want to have a good time, share some laughs, and vibrations, and, in the Jazz context, want always to see what might happen next.”

 

As far as Fite is concerned, what happens next is a performance in Hälsingland in July, trips to Denmark and Germany, and of course the resumption of the No Paper Jam evenings at Cafe Aguéli, starting August 31.   

Related links:

Lysanne Sizoo (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Sweden Democrat led biker gang chapter
Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat led biker gang chapter

A senior Sweden Democrat in Svenljunga municipality in western Sweden has a long criminal past and has previously served as a chapter head in the notorious criminal gang Bandidos. READ  

Swedish rockers dice with death in coach fire
Photo: Deathstars

Swedish rockers dice with death in coach fire

Swedish industrial rock band Deathstars narrowly avoided a serious tragedy in the early hours of Saturday morning when the tour bus in which they were travelling caught fire in the Austrian alps. READ  

Winter
Clocks go back for Swedish winter time
Photo: Charlie Rydell/AP

Clocks go back for Swedish winter time

Sweden switched over to winter time in the early hours of Sunday morning meaning that you just enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. READ  

National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Photo: TT

Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains

Torrential rains in western Sweden have left some towns submersed as water levels have risen to 1.5 metres above normal for the season with forecasts indicating that is worse to come. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

976
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN