366

The Bob Mintzer Big Band: Live at MCG with Kurt Elling

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Bob Mintzer Big Band: Live at MCG with Kurt Elling Bob Mintzer leads a superlative big band with seasoned pros in every chair, but what really gives the engine its get-up-and-go are the maestro's invariably admirable charts, unerring road maps that always ensure a smooth and delightful journey. This first-ever live album by the ensemble, recorded in May '02 at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh, PA, is at its best on the half-dozen instrumentals, even though guest vocalist Kurt Elling does what he can to jump-start the other three.

All but one of the selections, Herbie Hancock's turbulent "Eye of the Hurricane," have appeared on earlier albums, but it's no less pleasurable to revisit them in a concert setting. Elling puts his formidable chops to the test on the lingering (twelve-minutes-plus) "Hurricane" with some acrobatic scatting and vocalese, parrying taut statements by Mintzer, trumpeter Scott Wendholt and drummer John Riley. He's more loose and mellow on Victor Young/Ned Washington's hauntingly beautiful love song "My Foolish Heart" (complete with its charming yet seldom-heard introduction) and in front of a quartet on the less-persuasive ballad "All Is Quiet," which he and Mintzer co-authored.

Mintzer arranged "One O'Clock Jump" (for the album Homage to Count Basie ) and wrote everything else—"El Caborojono," "Gently," "Timeless," "Who's Walkin' Who," "Original People." Each of these themes has its own allure, and all are interlaced with weighty remarks by Mintzer's cadre of talented soloists, especially pianist Phil Markowitz (dazzling on "One O'Clock Jump," "Timeless" and "Original People"). Others who have their say are trombonists Michael Davis, Keith O'Quinn and Larry Farrell, trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, alto saxophonist Pete Yellin, tenor Bob Malach and baritone Roger Rosenberg.

Fans of big bands in general and Mintzer in particular should find much to enjoy on this buoyant and generally likable album, and may even warm to the vocal tracks more readily than yours truly. As a bonus, all proceeds from its sale go directly to support a worthy cause, the MCG Jazz program.

Track Listing: El Caborojono; My Foolish Heart; One O'Clock Jump; Gently; Eye of the Hurricane; Timeless; All Is Quiet; Who's Walkin' Who; Original People (70:45).

Personnel: Bob Mintzer, leader, tenor saxophone; Lawrence Feldman, Pete Yellin, alto sax; Bob Malach, tenor sax; Roger Rosenberg, baritone sax; Frank Greene, Bob Millikan, Scott Wendholt, Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet; Michael Davis, Larry Farrell, Keith O'Quinn, trombone; David Taylor, bass trombone; Phil Markowitz, piano; Rufus Reid, bass; John Riley, drums. Special guest —Kurt Elling, vocals.

Title: Live at MCG with Kurt Elling | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: MCG Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Is It Me...?" CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Nuit Blanche" CD/LP/Track Review Nuit Blanche
by John Kelman
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "A Chicken in a Bottle" CD/LP/Track Review A Chicken in a Bottle
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Cross My Palm With Silver" CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.