Bob Mintzer: Big Band Trane
Talented Bob Mintzer, no slouch as a leader, arranger, writer or saxophonist, delivers one disappointing tribute to one of his heroes. The idea is certainly noble though it's too easy to compare Mintzer's less favorable work here to Eric Dolphy's `arrangements' during the Africa/Brass sessions. And certainly many lesser Trane tributes exist. But this one seems less from the heart than from the Las Vegas lounge fakebook. Only "My Favorite Things," "A Love Supreme-Acknowledgment" and "Impressions" come from the Coltrane songbook. These strive to say something; but end up sounding like showy duds. The rest of this December 1995 recording is `inspired ` by Coltrane and his significant influence on Mintzer. There's no doubt about the quality of talent involved either. Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm and Michael Mossman all sit in the trumpet section! But the connection to Trane is tenuous at its best and the lasting impression is studio tomfoolery at its slickest. Big Band Trane ain't bad music. It's just not worth the investment.
This sounds petty; but if DMP can put all this money into "circle surround" recording technology, why can't it hire better art directors? The psychedelic Coltrane inset behind the big-band silhouette on the cover of this disc looks cool. But the DMP logo, the "Circle Surround" crap and even the typefaces all make this rather high-priced CD look like a direct-to-cutout, bargain-basement issue. DMP has some good talent (i.e.: Bob Mintzer, Joe Beck). These guys deserve more professional packaging.