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Traveler by Andy Snitzer

One of the constants in the music world is that saxophonist, composer and Philadelphia native Andy Snitzer will always be working. Even though he gave up his gig with the Rolling Stones to Tim Ries, Snitzer is not hurting for work. Since being discovered by Bob James when Snitzer was a student at the University of Miami, he eventually went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University. Snitzer has worked steadily as a session musician and touring artist when not working for Wall Street investment firms. Whether touring with Paul Simon, playing his own gigs or sitting in with the David Letterman band, Snitzer is offered far more gigs than he can ever adequately accept.

Traveler is Snitzer's seventh recording as a leader. This one is decidedly more down-tempo than some of his previous work. With a number of radio friendly cuts, such the uptempo "Lausanne," as well as a few cuts aimed at the chill genre, such as "Love Song," it's obvious Snitzer knows his way around not just the saxophone, but the studio as well. The swirling atmospherics of "Love Song" and the tasty hookish melody of "Lausanne" are perfectly aimed at their markets.

The presence of smooth jazz guru David Mann is seen on many of the cuts and his influence heavily dominates the proceedings. Playing flute, saxophone, electric wind instrument and keyboards, Mann is behind the scenes in a big way on many of the tracks. His synths give just the right amount of atmosphere to "Bohemia" and the synth percussion backbeats Mann creates on "Earth From Above" allow Snitzer just the right amount of room to roam.

If you're looking for Snitzer to tear the cover off the ball, this is the not the recording to pick up. Playing it down, ostensibly for radio, Snitzer tends to finesse his way through this recording. He doesn't really open up his chops here as he's done on other recordings, such as on "Last Kiss." Ultimately this recording is for fans of the down-tempo, more romantic side of smooth jazz. The heavy R&B aspects of that music are not accentuated here. While Snitzer is capable of much more, he's obviously targeting a specific audience on this recording and in that realm and in that light, he succeeds.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Andy Snitzer
  • CD Title: Traveler
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Native Language
  • Tracks: Marseille, Bohemia, Lausanne, Love Song, Taking Off, Traveler, Mystique, Veru, Earth From Above and Covenant
  • Musicians: Andy Snitzer (saxophones, synths, rhythm programming), David Mann (flute, saxophone, EWI, synths, programming), Chuck Loeb (guitar), Alain Mallet (keyboards), Tom Giola (guitar), Bernd Schoenhart (guitar), Mitch Cooley (guitar), Tom Levebvre (bass), James Genus (bass), Karl Latham (drums), Ralph Mac Donald (percussion), Michael Davis (trombone), Chris Botti (trumpet)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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