Andy Snitzer – Higher

Saxophonist Andy Snitzer is an in demand sideman performing with famous musicians like Paul Simon, Sting, The Rolling Stones and others. His solo projects shine however brighter꞉ Some Quiet Place (2006), Cool Struttin’ (2008), Traveler (2011), The Rhythm (2013) and American Beauty (2015) are to mention.

His new project is entitled Higher (2020). This album will be released worldwide on 23 October 2020. On Higher, his ensemble is anchored by Alain Mallet, who played a smaller role on previous albums (including Traveler, American Beauty, 2008’s Cool Struttin’ and 2013’s The Rhythm) but whose shape shifting contributions (including synths, percussion and arrangements) to each track on Higher earned him Co-Producer credit. The other key members of Snitzer’s team are guitarists Bernd Schoenhart, James Harrah and Leonardo Armeudo; bassists Tim Lefebvre and Reggie Hamilton; and drummers Gary Novak, Graham Hawthorne, and Michael White. The album was mixed by another longtime associate David Mann, who has played that role on each Snitzer album since Traveler.

While the lockdown due to the pandemic has forced countless jazz musicians to shift gears from the live studio setting to compiling and editing tracks from remote work spaces, that’s been Snitzer’s preferred wheelhouse for years. The saxman worked the approach to his great sonic advantage on Higher, building from enormous palettes of sounds to create arrangements he couldn’t have imagined when he originated each track with his sax and machine generated drums, bass and keys. He sent those bare bones elements first to his bass players, then to his drummers and on to Mallet, guitar players, and finally to the horn section. The saxophonist then used his MIDI and Pro Tools to compile, edit and shift textures to other sections (where necessary) to build the final stellar tracks.

“By recording this way as opposed to specifically managing players within in a three-hour live studio session,” Snitzer says, “each musician was given free reign to contribute their own unique creativity to the original track. “I’ve come to love this way of working because it empowers everyone to self-create and self-direct. If you pick the right partners, you can attain performances that you could never get in a typical live session. Everyone that played on Higher brought the full force of their energy and musicality to bear, which in turn pushed my artistry to my next level.”

“Besides the opportunity to record new projects and having players available who would otherwise be on the road, if there’s a silver lining to the pandemic for musicians, it’s that everyone’s adapting to creating in this digital space,” he adds. “Even when the opportunity to record at commercial studios comes back, I think this new way of doing business will remain part of the industry in a more impactful way. In line with the theme of the album, it’s an opportunity for everyone to take their artistic sensibilities Higher.”

Buy his album now exclusively here.

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