Andy Fite is a jazz guitarist, singer, and songwriter living in Stockholm, Sweden since 1994. Before that he lived in New York City for ten years.
Andy is a totally original guitarist with deep roots in the jazz tradition, a happy swinger with a long lyrical melodic line, a complex and exciting rhythmic conception, a deep sense of harmony with echoes of Bach, Brahms and Chopin, and a feeling for some good fun.
Already in his hometown of Pittsburgh Andy had the good luck to perform with most of the top local musicians, as well as with such illustrious visitors as Kenny Clarke, Billy Eckstine, Attila Zoller, Bucky Pizzarelli and Tal Farlow. Not to mention the Inkspots, the Four Aces, the Lettermen and Pia Zadora. One local musician who was especially important was pianist Carl Arter, whose harmonic conception was a huge influence on Andy, and whose comprehensive knowledge of the classic American song repertoire inspired Andy to learn hundreds of songs (and to learn the art of putting them in any old key a singer might ask for).
Arriving in New York in the mid-1980s, Andy began an intensive study of improvisation with pianist Connie Crothers, and very soon the insights he gained there led to a great breakthrough and an original style. Soon he was playing regularly with a number of close friends of the late pianist Lennie Tristano, a big hero and great source of inspiration in Andy’s music.
In 1987, Andy was invited to join the new co-operative record company New Artists Records (www.newartistsrecords.com), and there he made six CDs as leader or co-leader between 1988 and 1997. His playmates on these discs include Liz Gorrill, Red Mitchell, Bob Casanova, Carol Liebowitz and Roger Mancuso.
Andy began writing songs of his own in 1988, and since that time, particularly after the move to Stockholm, this has been an increasingly important part of his musical life. He’s written over 450 songs, and developed a spontaneous solo entertainment titled ”Jazz Comic Philosopher”, which prominently features these, but also leaves room for an old standard tune, or a bit from a Bach partita, or some free improvising, or a story, or a rant on a political or philosophical issue.
Andy acquired his own recording equipment in 1998 and has recorded as many days as not ever since then, creating a daunting backlog of material to try to get out to the world-- something over 40 albums. In January 2011, he began the process of releasing this music in download form, one album each month. The hope is to keep this going through 2014, when at last it will all be available to the public.
He has played with many of the top Swedish jazz musicians, and runs a monthly jam session in Stockholm where he tries to recreate the atmosphere of the sessions Connie Crothers organized during his years in New York: an informal yet highly focused setting where musicians of different levels of accomplishment could meet and create together without getting hung up in a competitive mindset. His partner in this endeavor is bassist Ulf Åkerhielm.
He also performs with his son, guitarist Niklas Fite, who at 16 years of age is already a seasoned and highly accomplished performer with very deep roots in the jazz tradition, and a rather amazingly large repertoire of standard tunes and jazz lines from both bop and the Tristano school. They play both as a duo, and at as a quartet with bass and drums.
Another duo has premiered in 2011, this one with the Stockholm singer Lina Ericson. The big focus with this combination is a series of humorous duets written by Andy, highlighting the dance of the sexes, be it the fight or the seduction, featuring a highly complex level of counterpoint and interplay generally.
He is a teacher too, working with guitarists and singers as well as anyone else who wants to develop their capacity to express themselves more deeply, and especially spontaneously. He works in his own private studio and at Kulturama in Stockholm, and has guest-lectured at the Royal Academy of Music, Uppsala University, Birka Folkhögskola and Bollnäs Folkhögskola in Sweden, the Sibelius Academy and Oulu University in Finland, and elsewhere.
He has also worked a bit on the comedy stages in Stockholm and elsewhere, and for a while there even had a spot on a as a Swedish children’s television show.