504

The Bob Mintzer Big Band: Homage to Count Basie

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Anyone who can take my least favorite Basie recording, “April in Paris,” and make it sound as captivating as Bob Mintzer does on Homage to Count Basie (no “one more time!” or “one more once!”) has earned an enthusiastic thumbs–up without taking another step. But the talented tenor overlord doesn’t stop there; he “Mintzerizes” four other tunes associated with the Basie band and blends in three of his own compositions to produce a banquet fit for (the ears of) a King — or a Count. Mintzer does for Basie what Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra have done for Ellington, except (here’s an heretical thought) Mintzer’s band does it better. The reason lies in those “Mintzerized” charts, which go well beyond mere transcription to reinvigorate such overworked warhorses as “April in Paris,” “One O’Clock Jump,” “Cute,” “Shiny Stockings” and “Li’l Darlin’.” Mintzer’s three compositions are excellent as well, and one can almost hear Sammy Nestico muttering, “Damn! I wish I’d written that!” as he (or she) listens to the deeply–grooved opener, “Havin’ Some Fun” (which follows Nestico’s time–tested recipe so closely that Sammy probably could have written it). Mintzer salutes a former President with “Lester Jumps Out” and, as he writes in the liner notes, superimposes “the Basie sensibility on an R&B groove, what might have happened if Sly Stone and Count Basie teamed up,” on “Home Basie.” Like everything else on the album, it works. Speaking, as we were a few sentences ago, of havin’ some fun, Mintzer and the other soloists do precisely that, letting it all hang out on every number. The leader’s expressive tenor is heard with baritone Roger Rosenberg on “Fun,” with pianist Phil Markowitz, tenor Scott Robinson, trumpeter Scott Wendholt and bassist Dennis Irwin on “Lester,” and by itself on “Home Basie” (on which drummer Brian Brake replaces John Riley). Markowitz sits in for Basie on “April in Paris,” shares solo honors with Robinson, Rosenberg, trumpeter Byron Stripling, trombonist Larry Farrell and alto Pete Yellin on "One O'Clock Jump" and with Stripling and trombonist Keith O'Quinn on "Shiny Stockings." Wendholt, Robinson and trombonist Michael Davis are the soloists on Neal Hefti's "Cute," Farrell and trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman on another Hefti composition, the even-tempered "Li'l Darlin'." Mintzer has always employed world-class musicians, and Homage is no exception. These gentlemen are flat-out awesome, there are no audible shortcomings, and if they don't swing quite as wildly as Basie, that's only because no one ever has.

Contact:Digital Music Products, P.O. Box 15835, Park Square Station, Stamford, CT 06901; www.dmprecords.com


Track Listing: Havin

Personnel: Bob Mintzer, leader, tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Lawrence Feldman, Pete Yellin, alto sax, clarinet, flute; Scott Robinson, tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Roger Rosenberg, baritone sax; Bob Millikan, Byron Stripling, Scott Wendholt, Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet, flugelhorn; Michael Davis, Keith O

| Record Label: DMP Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Secular Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Secular Hymns
by John Eyles
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Guess Who I Saw Today" CD/LP/Track Review Guess Who I Saw Today
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "New Shoots" CD/LP/Track Review New Shoots
by Mike Oppenheim
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Day By Day" CD/LP/Track Review Day By Day
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Black Art Jazz Collective - Presented By The Side Door Jazz Club" CD/LP/Track Review Black Art Jazz Collective - Presented By The Side Door Jazz Club
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!