Andrew Neu’s second album In Clear View has a wealth of renown musicians who contributed their melodic sensibilities to his compositions, including Neu’s record producer and bass player Brian Bromberg, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxophonist Mark Hollingsworth and R&B singer Rahsaan Patterson. Raised in Philadelphia, Neu’s combination of traditional jazz standards and free form is inspiring. He courses a smooth jazz path demonstrating caressing strokes and showmanship instincts as his saxophone wriggles, glides, silhouettes and stencils sprightly into melodic forms. His sax riffs have a vocal elasticity that guides the sonic wavelengths, melodic clasps and elegant movements into a cohesive collage. His album is tremendously entertaining similarly to Chris Botti, John Tesh and Kenny G. The songs are designed to release a spectrum of emotions from feeling romantic, mischievous and uninhibited to feeling solemn, sentimental and, at times, elated. There is a free spirit and contemporary verve in Neu’s compositions which craft universally pleasing esthetics that is sure to enamor people to his music.
The album opens with a jazz induced rendition of Kool & The Gang’s hit song "Celebration." From the start, Neu places the listener in the throes of enjoyment with a fun vibe permeating through the upbeat rhythm and vivacious brass section. The vocal chorus arranged by Rahsaan Patterson fuels the tempo’s libation. Neu’s sax movements soar, punctuate and hug the curves of the melody’s grooves. "Wine" struts a seductive atmosphere with a sensual sax gossamer, wicked keys performed by Lorber and steady beats which allow the sax to dip and float through the sonic lanes. Neu creates crescent waves and swirling motions as sprockets of twinkling keys dot the melody. An upbeat momentum flames "Come To Me" and "Seven Mile Bridge" with oscillating sax vibrations accentuating the twists and turns.
"I Heard It In The Night" is the crown jewel in the collection, possessing a medieval-Celtic essence in the enchanting sax melody. The carousal ride metronome is beautifully jeweled with delicate bass beats played by Rob Cochran and finely threaded sax lines. It is actually one of Neu’s more simplistic tracks, consisting mainly of his saxophone embellishments and a basic support of instrument undertones. "Night Lights" is a cool jazz number that projects the impression of an evening walk and the romantic mood of Lionel Richie’s tune "You Are" has a Love American Style hue (from the popular ’70s TV show) with contemporary jazz movements and a sentimental voicing through the links.
The uptempo arrangements on ""Shadow Dancing" and "Sob City" offer quick footed rhythms and heady entanglements of the piano prose and brass sections furnished by Neu’s band The Bright And Tight Horns. Contrastingly, the smooth silkiness of "Clear View" and "Blame It On Rio" provides curvaceous sax moves that peak and wane while slinking through the melody. Neu reciprocates the varying tempos by making them both as charming and graceful as possible. The soft cushioning he slathers with his saxophone on the cover of Styx’s pop single "Babe" is inflated with warmth and tenderness. The satiny textures and dark tones on "D’Aja Vu" channels a smooth jazz circulation attaching a bustling guitar solo played by Mark Walsh. The sax smoke rings on the final track "Easy Pass" drizzles the melody with excitement and splashes the cool rhythm with flashes of stimulation.
Andrew Neu’s saxophone soliloquies are ornate, elegant and intricately stylized on his second album In Clear View, which is the follow up to his debut disc Inspire from 2000. Neu’s additional credentials include touring with Sister Sledge, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Debbie Boone, Manhattan Transfer, Ann Hampton Calloway, Tito Puente and a slew of other prominent jazz and R&B figures. He has played with the Philly Pops since 1996 and at a litany of jazz festivals, including the JVC Newport Jazz Festival, the St. Croix Jazz Festival, the Lake George Jazz Festival and the Mellon PSFS Jazz Festivals. He founded The Bright And Tight Horns and is the featured tenor saxophonist with the Brian Pastor Big Band. Andrew Neu has spent much of his profession being a pupil and a protégé. In Clear View has the potential to take him to the forefront of public enjoyment.