The art of listening to music depends as much upon when
you listen to it as what type of music you hear. Sitting in a church while the choir sings is probably not the best time to expect to hear Metallica's "Enter Sandman" or Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," to name two examples from popular music. However, Sunday morning is the perfect time to listen to saxophonist Andy Snitzer's Some Quiet Place
. The album was originally released in 1999 but is being reissued on Native Language records in hopes of finding a new, more receptive audience.
Hopefully it will, as Snitzer sounds fresh and contemporary. While technology has made strides since 1999, this material sounds relevant. The one "new" track is "Passion Play," featuring a nice interchange between Snitzer and Chuck Loeb on guitar. Snitzer's tenor sax really soars here. But there's no jarring change in his technique on the album's lead-off, "As I Was Before," where Snitzer lays back a bit while his self-described mentor, Bob James, and fellow keyboard whiz Phillipe Saisse take the lead.
In the press materials, Native Language emphasizes that Some Quiet Place
is a forerunnner of "chill music" (ugh), quite probably because of the presence of Chris Botti's trumpet on "On Extended Wing." Botti hosts a syndicated radio program featuring chill music. Why do record labels compulsively categorize artists like so many varieties of canned soup? Let the musician and the music find their audience without the buzz words and name-dropping nods to current trends.
The Philadelphia-born leader is currently on tour as part of Paul Simon's band. As a sideman, Snitzer has played with the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton and many others. He's also a technically proficient music editor and a expert in the world of Pro Tools. Snitzer is an accomplished musician who doesn't need public relations hype to demonstate how vast his horizons are.
Andy Snitzer plays a lush and soulful saxophone. With Some Quiet Place he's put together a solid album of well-crafted jazz. Calling the music "trippy" seems like a move calculated to grab an audience that only likes to listen to jazz as long as it isn't called "jazz." Some Quiet Place is an exciting and skillful step in that journey.
Personnel: Andy Snitzer: tenor saxophone, keyboards, synth bass; Rhodes; synthesizers; drums;
percussion; alto saxophone, programming; Bob James: piano; Phillipe Saisse: Rhodes,
clavinet, shaker, piano, organ; Paul Livant: guitar; Jon Ossman: bass; Shawn Pelton: drums;
David Charles: percussion; Chuck Loeb: guitar; Chris Botti: trumpet; Mitch Cooley: guitar;
Tony Kadleck: trumpet; Birch Johnson: trombones; David Lebolt: organ; Bernard Davis:
drums; Fab: synth programming; Jerry Brooks: bass; Brian Dunne: drums; Jim Hynes:
flugelhorn; Michael Davis: trombone; Larry Saltzman: guitars.