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Bob Mintzer Big Band: For The Moment (2012)

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Bob Mintzer Big Band: For The Moment How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Musicians can consider themselves lucky if they find success in one particular area, but there are a select few that seem to flourish in every music-related environment that they encounter. Bob Mintzer is part of this elite list; his versatility is his greatest virtue but, while he's a world class saxophonist and educator, his legacy will likely be connected to his work as a composer and arranger in the world of big bands. He learned from the best, sitting in the saxophone section of bands led by Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
and Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
, Gil Evans
Gil Evans
Gil Evans
1912 - 1988
composer/conductor
, and several other notable figures, and he's been putting his hard-earned knowledge to good use in this area ever since he assembled his first big band to play at the Brecker Brothers' Seventh Avenue South club, in the early '80s.

For his fourth large ensemble outing on the MCG jazz label, Mintzer looks south to Brazil, highlighting another of his great passions. His extensive experience working with, and learning from, big name Brazilians over the years, including Eumir Deodato
Eumir Deodato
Eumir Deodato
b.1942
keyboard
, Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
b.1942
guitar
, Romero Lubambo and Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
b.1942
guitar
, gives his work a mark of authenticity that eludes those who merely dabble in this area by adding a bossa nova or two to their repertoire.

Mintzer mixes originals with his arrangements of music from guest guitarist/vocalist Chico Pinheiro, as well as classics from the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1927 - 1994
piano
("Corcovado") and Baden Powell
Baden Powell
Baden Powell
1937 - 2000
guitar, acoustic
("Berimbau"), on this nine-song stroll through Brazil. The performances are highly polished affairs that feature crisp ensemble work, strong solo personalities and buoyant rhythmic backdrops. Pinheiro is featured in several places, delivering vocals and killer, clean-toned guitar soloing on his own "Un Filme" and providing soothing singing on "Corcovado," but he's hardly the only standout on this disc.

Mintzer turned to longtime friend and big band drumming guru Peter Erskine
Peter Erskine
Peter Erskine
b.1954
drums
to anchor the band from behind the kit, and he doesn't disappoint. He brings his trademark sense of groove and touch to every piece on the program, from the bouncy baião-based tune that opens the album ("Aha") to a mellow bossa nova take on a '30s classic ("For All We Know"). Mintzer's Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets

band/orchestra
band mate, pianist Russell Ferrante
Russell Ferrante
Russell Ferrante
b.1952
keyboard
, is another key ingredient in the soloist mix, as is underappreciated trumpeter Scott Wendholt
Scott Wendholt
Scott Wendholt
b.1965
trumpet
, but the ensemble is really the star of the show.

Mintzer is like a musical flavor chemist, making tasty musical admixtures that go down easy, yet have a complex aftertaste. For The Moment furthers what many already know: Mintzer is a monster musician with writing chops that match or surpass his stellar saxophone skills.

Track Listing: Aha; Um Filme; Irrequieto; For All We Know; Berimbau; For The Moment; Redife; Corcovado; Ouro Preto.

Personnel: Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone, flute; Chico Pinheiro: vocals, guitar; Lawrence Feldman: alto saxohpone, flute; Mike Tomaro: alto saxophone, flute; Bob Malach: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Frank Basile: baritone saxophone, clarinet; Steve Hawk: trumpet; Tony Kadleck: trumpet; James Moore: trumpet; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; Jay Ashby: trombone; Michael Davis: trombone; Keith O'Quinn: trombone; Max Seigel: bass trombone; Russell Ferrante: piano, keyboards; Marty Ashby: guitar; Lincoln Goines: bass; Peter Erskine: Drums; Alex Acuna: percussion.

Record Label: MCG Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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