Review from

By Susan Frances

Saxophonist-composer Andrew Neu is a proven proponent of smooth jazz curriculums having been a sideman for such prodigious figures as Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, Mel Torne, Diane Schurr, Melissa Manchester, Buddy DeFranco, and Bobby Caldwell. Neu’s third solo album Try Something Neu entices audiences to give his brand of smooth jazz a try. Featuring a rousing selection of guest musicians including Chuck Loeb on guitar, Brian Bromberg on bass, Demetrios Pappas on piano and organ, Brian Culbertson on trombone, and Bobby Caldwell on lead vocals in a fan favorite of Caldwell’s “Next Time I Fall (In Love)”, Neu assembles an unit with the penetrative potency of an invigorating elixir. 

Combining a cup full of mirth and several tablespoons of lounging funk, Neu weaves a strong case to support the placement of jazz-inspired elements in modern R&B/soul. Chuck Loeb’s soaring guitar riffs in “Chez Cool” and “South By Southwest” enhance the tunes magnetic coloring, and Brian Bromberg’s funky bass lines on “Libra Rising” and “The Nut” produce inclines with an urban groove that spices up the smooth soul palette plowing a dance-pop vibe through the tracks. Culbertson’s trombone phrases hydroplane along “The Nut” creating intervals that go airborne, while Demetrios Pappas’ pivoting piano keys in “No Hang Tonight” and the title track are tethered to his uninhibited imagination. Whether melodies are thinly feathered like in “The Way Forward” or densely layered as in “Next Time I Fall (In Love)”, the melodic strands are finely groomed and braided to cultivate an illusionary euphoria. It is feel good album tempered for sophisticated sensibilities. 

Try Something Neu covers a wide spectrum of moods from feeling like floating through clouds to being energized by dancehall funk. Try Something Neu follows Neu’s two previous releases, Inspire in 2002 and In Clear View in 2007. Produced by his bassist Brian Bromberg, Try Something Neu varies in scope from nightclub liveliness to the engaging ambience of island soirees or resting in the comforts of one’s own private villa. The tracks are conducive for every social setting and puts audiences at ease from the start.