• 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
Opinion
'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'
The submarine hunt is now in it's sixth day. Photo: TT

'Why were we kept in the dark for years?'

Military expert Johanne Hildebrandt tells The Local that the biggest question in the Stockholm submarine hunt hasn't been answered yet - why don't we know more about the "other operations" from the last few years? READ  

Business & Money
Nordea banks big third-quarter profit gain
Nordea's Chief Executive Christian Clausen. Photo: TT

Nordea banks big third-quarter profit gain

Swedish bank Nordea announced on Wednesday a sharp rise in third quarter profits despite the economic slowdown and major outlays for an IT overhaul. READ  

National
Knutby priest faces early release from prison
Knutby in eastern Sweden, the scene of the murder. Photo: TT

Knutby priest faces early release from prison

A former priest in eastern Sweden who was sentenced to life in prison for organizing the murder of his wife has had his sentence reduced. READ  

The Local List
Eight things to love about renting in Sweden
Apartments in Sweden are compact. Photo: Shutterstock

Eight things to love about renting in Sweden

A housing crisis means that short-term sublets are the norm in major cities and rent regulation rules are frequently flouted. But this week, The Local's decided to look on the bright side of renting an apartment in Sweden. READ  

Opinion
'Sweden will see Russia as a threat again'

'Sweden will see Russia as a threat again'

The Local speaks to one of Europe's leading security experts about why social media meant the Swedish military couldn't keep their 'submarine' search a secret and how she believes the country will ramp up its security against Russia. READ  

Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
Comedian Al Pitcher has launched his new tour. Photo: www.alpitcher.com

'Swedes are funnier than they think'

The Local's been chatting to one of Sweden's hottest comedians - New Zealand-born Al Pitcher - who launched his new show in Stockholm this week. From magpies and cows to the Swedish version of Happy Birthday - there wasn't a dull moment as we spoke while he took an eventful stroll in the capital. READ  

National
Stockholm suicide bomb investigation closes
The suicide bombing took place in 2010. Photo: TT

Stockholm suicide bomb investigation closes

Sweden's Security Service (Säpo) has announced that it will stop its core investigation into a suicide bombing in Stockholm four years ago. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Military heads into 'new phase' in sub search
The search for the missing 'submarine' is now in its sixth day. Photo: TT

Military heads into 'new phase' in sub search

UPDATED: A press conference on the search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters revealed that the Armed Forces would be heading into a new phase on Wednesday. READ  

Lifestyle
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
The bronze replica cannon. Photo: Beth Dacey.

Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden

A replica of one of the cannons present on Stockholm's iconic Vasa warship when it sank in 1628 is being tested for the first time in central Sweden. READ  

Health
Swedish farmers contracted swine flu
Swine flu can spread between pigs and humans. Photo: TT

Swedish farmers contracted swine flu

A human strain of the swine flu virus normally only found in pigs was discovered in Sweden earlier this year, the country's Public Health Agency has revealed. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
Blog updates

21 October

Denna & den här (The Swedish Teacher) »

"?Denna? or ?den hr?? Swedish language students often ask question about different pronouns. One pronoun that especially..." READ »

 

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 
 
 
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
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
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?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
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
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
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

999
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