Catwalk is saxophonist Andrew Neu‘s debut as a big band leader. Recorded at the legendary Eastwest Studios in Los Angeles, the compilation is produced by Brian Bromberg and features guest musicians Randy Brecker, Wayne Bergeron, and Rick Braun on trumpets, Bob Mintzer and Eric Marienthal on saxophones, and multi-instrumentalist/jazz composer Gordon Goodwin. A forerunner of the smooth jazz movement, Neu dabbles in ballroom jazz ambiences on his new release. Bright and bubbly in the style of Lawrence Welk, Neu’s music dazzles listeners who long for the golden age of jazz.
The playlist includes eight original compositions and three standard jazz numbers. All compositions are arranged by Neu. He integrates Latin, cabaret, and swing into the ensemble. Dedicating his effort to such legendary band leaders as Henry Mancini, Chuck Mangione, and others of their ilk, Neu shows great affection for the pioneers of the big band genre.
Swirling horns and lavish etudes sparkle throughout the recording. From ballroom dances to moonlight strolls, Neu covers a wide girth of the big band palette. Zooming shuffles glitter “What Is This Thing Called Love,” and rumba-inspired beats sweep across “Wasamra.” “Too Much of a Good Thing” is spangled in swinging horns, and “Cinema Paradiso” is glazed in sheaths of idyllic woodwinds. The music lingers in the memory.
Coming from the smooth jazz side of mainstream music, Neu proves to be equally proficient at big band scores. He has regularly toured with Bobby Caldwell, Diane Schuur, and Smokey Robinson, and has shared the stage with Elton John, Mel Torme, The Four Tops, and many others. He made his debut as a recording artist in 2009 with his release Try Something Neu, which entered the top 20 on Billboard‘s Smooth Jazz chart. Presently, Neu leads an all-star big band in Los Angeles featuring Anthony Bonsera on trumpet.