Biography

Andy Snitzer has performed and recorded with a veritable who's who of contemporary music artists. From Eric Clapton to Beck, Aretha Franklin to Naughty by Nature, Dr. John to Christina Aguilera, performances with these artists and many others have showcased Andy's passionate sound and melodic style, and have earned him a place in the elite ranks of contemporary saxophonists. As a member of the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge and Bridges to Babylon world tours, Andy has performed worldwide before millions in over 40 countries. As a member of Paul Simon's touring band (a position he currently holds), Andy joins a world-class assemblage of musicians from Africa, Europe and the USA in a band of widespread critical acclaim. Andy's three solo records, "Ties that Bind", "In the Eye of the Storm" and "Some Quiet Place, set the bar for inventiveness and creativity in Contemporary Jazz, and showcase Andy's outstanding ability as a player, writer, drum programmer and record producer.

 

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1962, Andy excelled in music and mathematics as a child. Andy studied the clarinet, and dabbled in guitar and piano on his way to embracing the saxophone at age 15. Simultaneously immersing himself in John Coltrane, Mike Brecker, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, among many many others, the last two years of highschool for Andy were marked by constant practice and study.

In 1980, Andy enrolled at Northwestern University in Chicago to study with classical saxophone giant Frederick Hemke. After one year at Northwestern, Andy realized that the physical and conceptual requirements for jazz and classical music on the saxophone were vastly divergent. Andy headed south for the warm weather, enrolling in the jazz program at the University of Miami in 1981. At Miami, Andy met fellow students Ed Calle, Rick Margitza, Mike Scaglione and other young and very talented players. The school was a virtual breeding ground for saxophone talent at the time, and the atmosphere and curriculum allowed Andy's playing to grow by leaps and bounds. Andy ascended to lead Alto in Miami's Concert Jazz Band, and enjoyed two years of concertizing and recording at the helm of an incredible saxophone section. In Andy's senior year, jazz great Bob James visited the school for a concert and master class, and as a result of that visit took Andy, Ed Calle and a few other students on a three week US tour. It was the beginning of Andy's professional career, and the beginning of a professional relationship with James that has lasted nearly 20 years.

 

In 1984, armed with his college degree, Andy moved to New York. While pursuing a graduate degree at NYU, Andy hit the streets at night, sitting in and playing wherever and whenever possible. Slowly, Andy began to garner a reputation that eventually led to his acceptance in the NY session scene (though a myriad of less prestigious gigs lined that road!). As time passed, Andy became known to record producers in NY, Arif Mardin, Phil Ramone, Ron Fair, and David Frank among the list of producers that started to call on Andy for his evident talent as a soloist. Andy's performance at a late night session for the band Roxette so impressed Fair that he signed Andy to his first record deal on EMI. When EMI folded, Matt Pierson signed Andy to Warner Brothers, and Andy's career as a recording artist was on its way.

 

"Ties that Bind" was released in 1994 to critical acclaim, spawning the #1 hit and NAC classic "You've Changed." In 1996 Andy released "In the Eye of the Storm", which generated hits "A River's Road" and "My Dream come True". 1999's "Some Quiet Place", while not embraced by Smooth Jazz radio, is Andy's personal favorite, his most mature and expressive work to date. In addition to his own recordings, Andy is oft featured as a guest soloist, most recently on Chuck Loeb's "Big Time" (co-written by Chuck and Andy), and most notably on Bob James' "Restless", a smooth jazz smash from 1994.

In the spring of that same year, just prior to the release of "Ties that Bind", Andy and mates Mike Davis and Kent Smith were asked to join the Rolling Stones on their 1994 world tour. Andy toured the world for 13 months with Mick and the boys, and did another 13 months again in 1997. Although Andy was not the soloist on either of the Stones tours, a position held by longtime Stones' sideman Bobby Keys, the experience of touring the world in high style, perfoming before 70,000 or so nightly was to say the least unforgettable. After the 97/98 world tour, Andy left the Stones to join Paul Simon's band, taking over for saxophone legend Michael Brecker.  He continues to tour with Paul (and Simon and Garfunkel) to this day.

 

In the midst of all this work as a saxophonist, Andy has of late begun to develop a whole other side of his career. As a longtime devotee and expert in the world of Pro Tools, Andy combines this technical expertise with his outstanding musicianship, creating one of the industry's most skillful music editors. Most notably, Andy did all the performance editing on Bon Jovi's latest album "Crush", which has sold over 6 million copies worldwide. He has worked for artists ranging from popstars Destiny's Child to jazz legend Miles Davis. Andy's many years of experience in MIDI sequencing and performance "tweaking" on his own records have helped develop an elevated insight and acumen in the way parts groove together in the context of a music production. This honed ability enables Andy to gently fix and refine individual performance anomalies towards creating a more satisfying whole, whenever such anamolies are not, for whatever reason, in the service of the groove. Pro Tools technology is incredibly powerful, but ultimately the taste and insight of the person operating the technology is what's really important.

Andy, in his own words, is eternally grateful for a career that encompasses all his areas of interest within music. Going forward, he will undoubtedly continue to play, write, produce and edit, in addition to whatever else his mind and ears lead him to. Whatever the future holds, Andy will continue to strive, for beauty, groove, integrity and excellence, and will continue to give thanks for the gift of working with something he loves.