By Kev Rowland
Andrew Neu is known for his work as a saxophonist, woodwind player, arranger, composer, educator and recording artist, and has toured with the likes of Bobby Caldwell, Diane Schuur and Smokey Robinson, and shared the stage with Elton John, Patti Labelle, Mellissa Manchester, Mel Torme, Joey DeFrancesco, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philly Pops, The Four Tops, and The Temptations among others. He has recorded with Sister Sledge, Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, and many others. After releasing four contemporary jazz CDs, he has now released his debut big band jazz albums. It features all of Andrew’s arrangements, plus soloists Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Gordon Goodwin and Eric Marienthal.
I grew up on jazz like this, as my dad was a fan of big band jazz and I often helped myself to his old vinyl to try and understand what this weird music was all about, and when I was revising for exams I could often be found playing the likes of Duke Ellington, Jack Teagarden or my personal favourite, Gene Krupa. Hearing those bands swing, really swing, with complex arrangements and great solos always made me smile, marvelling at how so many people could combine in something that was complex, simple, yet full of heart and soul and never staid. Playing this album brought all that back in spades, and I swear I smiled from the first song through to the very last, as not only did it bring back great memories of when I used to play big band jazz, but because it is so incredibly immediate and evocative. Superb.