For about half of his four decade-long career in jazz, Bob Mintzer has been a member of the Yellowjackets, one of the most enduring, distinctive and creative bands in contemporary jazz. But, oddly enough, this association is a relatively small slice of Mintzer's remarkably multifaceted life in music as a saxophonist, bass clarinetist, composer, arranger, educator and leader of his own big bands and small groups. For Mintzer, the phrase busy as a bee" certainly applies.Born in 1953 in New Rochelle, New York, a town that sits just two miles north of New York City, Mintzer has been ...read more
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 and Mel Lewis, Gil Evans, and several other notable figures, and ...read more
Standards hold a particular fascination for drummer Peter Erskine, as initiated through his Grammy-nominated Standards(Fuzzy Music, 2008). Unlike that first album--comprised primarily of old jazz standards--Standards 2, Movie Music focuses on songs that are considered standards from the realm of Hollywood movies. Featuring music from Gone With The Wind (1939), considered by many to be one of the best movies ever made, to the main theme from Rosemary's Baby (1968), this unusual collection of songs, by necessity, has to leave out choices from a wide enough range of popular movies to fill several volumes--a risk Erskine readily acknowledges in his ...read more
While the songs featured on Standards 2, Movie Music were given an initial audience through the medium of film, some of them have led a fruitful existence beyond the borders of the silver screen. Some melodies--like Tara's Theme," from 1939's Gone With The Wind--will always be associated with their point of origin, but much of Cole Porter's catalog, including the two inclusions on this album ("Night And Day" and I Concentrate On You"), is more familiar to current audiences than the films that spawned these standards. This quartet treats both types of material with equal respect as it plies its ...read more
Composers of movie soundtracks have crafted some of the most enduring tunes for jazz treatment. Names like Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, Krzysztof Komeda, and Ennio Maricone show up in the credits of innumerable albums, with tunes that shape moods and atmospheres, and supply jazz artists with engaging melodies galore.Drummer Peter Erskine has collected a crack quartet which has, in turn, collected ten tunes from various movie soundtracks for a near perfect jazz outing, one with that swings with the feeling of an Ellington small group outing.From tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer's opening notes, it's apparent that this ...read more
Sometimes, the most powerful statements are those delivered directly: gentle, yet forceful in their complete commitment, and without the trappings of excess.With the sudden, unexpected passing in 2008 of Dave Carpenter--the talented and busy West Coast bassist who had played with everyone from Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman to Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth and Lee Ritenour--drummer Peter Erskine and pianist Alan Pasqua had to find a new bassist for their longstanding trio, last heard on Standards (Fuzzy Music, 2008).Fortunately, both had intersected before with Darek Oles. Oles, who emigrated from Poland to the United ...read more
Between a bevy of sideman dates, longstanding gigs with Yellowjackets and his own big band, and periodic small ensemble recordings like the unassuming and heartfelt In the Moment (Art of Life, 2007), Bob Mintzer has remained one of the busiest woodwind multi-instrumentalists in jazz for nearly four decades, since first cutting his teeth as youngster with drum legend/mentor Buddy Rich. Largely focusing on the rich bebop tradition and its various offshoots, Mintzer has always managed to remain relevant by placing himself into a multiplicity of contexts. Mintzer visits the organ trio tradition on Canyon Cove, with a set of largely ...read more
The Manchester Crafsmen's Guild is both an institution that preserves, presents and promotes jazz, and an organization that produces a long-running, Grammy-winning series known as MCG Jazz. One favorite son of this label is Bob Mintzer, who is also a member of the Heads Up group, the Yellowjackets.Mintzer is a versatile artist who plays a variety of instruments, composes, arranges and appears in session with other artists. He recently joined the faculty at the University of Southern California. The Bob Mintzer Big Band has four Grammy nominations and a 2002 Grammy Award for Homage to Count Basie (MCG).read more
Bob Mintzer has been an active and successful member of the jazz community for some time now. He has been involved in numerous projects ranging from a fifteen-year stint with The Yellowjackets and his local New York big band to countless side gigs and projects with some of the most well-known figures in jazz. Something he has not done in a while, however, is release a small group recording. So after six long years of silence, the Bob Mintzer Quartet has finally released a soulful, intimate album, In the Moment, which is sure to please. This recording ...read more
Fourteen years with the Yellowjackets is only a part of what saxophonist Bob Mintzer represents. He has also led his big band and smaller ensembles through jazz's mainstream time and again over a career that spans more than thirty years of contemporary jazz. His tenor saxophone gives this album a cool quality that turns each melody into a flexible vine that grows around and through the garden.
The occasion for this session was a gathering of friends; thus, the spontaneity and cohesiveness of their performance. The balance of the recording gives all four instrumental voices an equal presence. ...read more
Horror writer Stephen King once wrote that you can drink vintage wine out of a piece of fine crystal or out of a Flintstones jelly glass. The drink is the same but there is a difference. In the realm of mainstream jazz, there's a similar difference between playing all the right notes and actually meaning them. Given the number of mainstream records released every year it's a challenge to separate those that speak the truth from those that simply speak. Saxophonist Bob Mintzer's In the Moment is a clear case of a fine drink in an equally fine glass.
More ...read more
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra Up From The Skies: Music of Jim McNeely PlanetArts 2006
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (VJO) is a national treasure. The venerable institution, which began its existence under the co-leadership of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, celebrates its 40th anniversary of Monday nights at the Village Vanguard this year. The organization continues to develop, expanding its voluminous repertoire with this release of new music by its composer in residence, pianist Jim McNeely.
McNeely's arrangement of the Jimi Hendrix title track that opens the disc clearly demonstrates his ability to preserve the ...read more
Arranger and saxophonist Bob Mintzer has been nominated for thirteen Grammy awards, not only for his solo work and big band recordings, but also for his efforts with the Yellowjackets quartet, and Old School, New Lessons clearly shows why. The music is original, exciting, energetic and captivating. After a 23-year, twelve-album association with Digital Music Products, Mintzer returns to the MCG Jazz label with this release.
Old School, New Lessons compiles a series of sessions recorded live at the Manchester Craftsman's Guild in Pittsburgh in 2004 and 2005. A major presence in the world of big bands, Mintzer's ...read more
He may be best known these days as one quarter of the contemporary jazz group Yellowjackets' best lineup in 25 years, but woodwind multi-instrumentalist Bob Mintzer first cut his teeth in the big bands of Buddy Rich and Mel Lewis, along with the late bassist Jaco Pastorius' groundbreaking Word of Mouth Big Band. And so, while he's made a significant part of his reputation through work in smaller ensembles, he's always had an affinity for the sonic possibilities and sheer power of larger ensembles. His own big band has been an ongoing concern since the early 1980s.
Mintzer has clear ...read more
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