Bob Mintzer: Gently (2003)
Mintzer, who turned 50 this year, has released what is effectively a musical caress. Through his elegantly crafted arrangements and wonderful use of flutes and mutes, he has transformed his big band, which is capable of blowing the roof off any venue, into a 20-piece intimate but expansive combo. It includes self-penned pieces like "Original People," a broad sounding homage to Native Americans that features an upfront Mike Mossman trumpet solo along with classics like "Body and Soul" that is expertly navigated by Mintzer's tenor.
After hearing these, I breathed a sigh of relief. This was not my father's mood music. There was a tension to it, the musicianship was artistic, and the arrangements were original. Pianist Phil Markowitz, along with the crisp drumming of Peter Erskine and bassist Jay Anderson, helps anchors a tight rhythm section that gives the session its friendly feel. As the melodic Thad Jones tune "Don't Ever Leave Me," presented here with quiet single voiced orchestration, ended, I realized that Gently is mature music for the harried adult in each of us.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. Gently 2. Timeless 3. Original People 4. Body And Soul 5. Who's Walkin' Who 6. Don't Ever Leave Me 7. Bright Lights 8. Saxophone Quartet #2
Personnel: Bob Mintzer, Bob Malach (tenor saxophone, flute); Lawrence Feldman, Charles Pillow (alto saxophone, flute); Pete Yellin (alto saxophone); Roger Rosenberg (baritone saxophone, clarinet); Bob Millikan, FRank Greene, Scott Wendholt, Michael Phillip Mossman, Jim Seeley (trumpet, flugelhorn); John Clark, Fred Griffin (French horn); Mike Davis, Larry Farrell, Keith O'Quinn (trombone); David Taylor (bass trombone); Phil Markowitz (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Peter Erskine (drums).
Record Label: DMP Records