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Andy Snitzer: Sugar

On his three contemporary-jazz releases, saxophonist Andy Snitzer’s Sanbornesque licks chewed around the edges of his slick, modern arrangements, never settling for the repetitive lines favored by many of his contemporaries. On his latest work, Sugar, Snitzer shows that he can also play acoustic mainstream jazz, and it’s an extremely satisfying outing.

Listening to Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar” and his own “T. Time,” it’s obvious that Snitzer isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel on tenor. He’s determined to keep Turrentine’s recognizable melody while improvising on extended jams, all the while keeping swing in mind. Alain Mallet grooves on the Hammond and piano while bassist James Genus and drummer Clarence Penn anchor the bottom end. On John Coltrane’s “Blue Train” and Sonny Rollins’ “Blue Seven,” the real fun comes in listening to Snitzer and Mallet’s solos.

Rock and pop fans may also be familiar with Snitzer, who has burned up the stage during his many tours with the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and others. His version of the Stones’ “Wild Horses”-with Sanborn-style lines and mournful organ-and Leon Russell’s “A Song for You”-where he makes his sax sing-could get Snitzer some well-deserved airplay and recognition as a leader.

Originally Published