Guitarist ANDY LALE has a new album out called “Gypsy in a High Rise”. Written for his quartet Undiscovered Television (UTV). He explained the background to Sebastian:
Guitarist Andy Lale makes no secret of his attempt to make the music he has composed for the album Gypsy in a High Rise function at several levels. He is trying “to evoke – and on occasion enhance – the sound-world of a jazz quartet, and to allow visual landscapes to emerge in the mind of the listener.” His idea, he told me is that listeners enter into a “private world.He wants to “offer people a soundtrack for their private TV show.” The most obvious example of this is the track Smedley Butler’s War, where the instrumental track is overlaid with, amongst others the thoughts of trader Alessio Rastani in a famous BBC interview from 2011.
Musically the instrumentation shows that he is interested in particular sonic ranges. His own 8-string guitar has lower sounds than a conventional guitar, and pairing it with a cello increases the possibilities in that register. Important influences have been the free player John Stevens and the cellist Hugh Mcdowell from the Electric Light Orchestra with whom Lale studied composition. The fact that Lale uses a cellist in his current band gives a sense of what an important voice McDowell gave Lale to work with as a composer.
And his own music? As a guitarist he is essentially self taught, but is indebted to Charles Alexander for his guidance. Lale says he has an “envious respect for Pat Metheny, and that he has listened a lot to Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian – “but that’s more about technique than feel.” He played with the band Blackwater Street in the 1990s, which had a good following and performed regular gigs on the South Bank and at the ICA in the late 1990s
Composing influences? There is Hugh McDowell, and from his own listening Lale points out the influence of the minimalists such as Philip Glass, and also the “ accessible genius” of the Miles Davis Kind of Blue era “in the way the tunes on “Gypsy” are put together.” And then, Andy thinks for a moment and says, “beyond that there is Stravinsky/Debussy/Ravel: “ Debussy used a lot of minor ninths and so did seventies song writers, it’s a lineage he says smiling – there is hopefully a lowbrow-highbrow playfulness about this album.
In the past decade and a half, Andy Lale has made music in a highly unusual context, to which he has had access through what must be a unique combination of qualifications. He not only has a Masters degree in music therapy but another in psychoanalytic psychotherapist. As he explains : “I am a music professional, working in the bowels of a psychiatric hospital co-creating reggae tracks for a day job. I do have a very analytical approach to it actually. That work is structured and serious. The nature of his work means that he is more than usually focused with what he calls “my other side, keeping my creativity alive. There is no mistaking that urge: “ I have a desire to create. The need to make music has got stronger recently, as working in the NHS has got harder – being a music psychotherapist is engaging – but problematic. I have had fifteen years of being immersed in it . Now I have more space to do what I need to do. And to create an expression of a very personal identity.”
The early signs are good. JazzFM have played two tracks from the album and put the track Slow Day @ The Numbers Station on their regular playlist and there is a tour planned for the autumn. Keep watching Undiscovered Television. (pp)