3

Mintz Quartet: Mintz Quartet

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Mintz Quartet: Mintz Quartet The jazz world is packed with dynamic drummers, and players who raise the job of timekeeping—and beyond—to a fine art. And then there are the supreme poets of the drum kit: The late Paul Motian, with his gentle orchestra of textures, colors, and diaphanous accents; Jack DeJohnette, with his bustling undercurrents and rock steady grooves; and, perhaps lesser known, but no less noteworthy, is Billy Mintz, with his melodious, metallic, shuffle-and-bump rhythmic dance.

Mintz—who has recorded with The Lee Konitz Nonet, Eddie Daniels, and pianist Hal Galper—offered up an overlooked masterpiece in 2004 with Beautiful You (Origin Records), a duet recording with saxophonist John Gross. For the marvelous Mintz Quartet, the drum master is joined again by Gross with his open, often hollow-but-robust-sounding tenor sax, along with pianist Roberta Piket, and bassist Putter Smith.

The set is organized int two distinct halves, like a record album. Tunes one through six (call it "Side One) feature five of the six tunes found on the Beautiful You outing, opening with a brief visit to that release's title tune, with Piket's gorgeous and lush pianism on full display.

Mintz must have a thing about beauty. "Beautiful You," "Beautiful," and "Ugly Beautiful" are three of his song titles here. The first two of these live up to their names while the third might have more accurately been called "Powerful Beautiful." The set's longest piece at nearly thirteen minutes finds Piket pounding out McCoy Tyner-like chords, with Gross blowing anguished utterances and Mintz laying down sheets of agitated percussion.

"Cannonball," the tune that opens "Side Two," features a surprisingly soulful Piket on organ. She is a versatile keyboardist who can approach the piano from inside or out, with lush romanticism ("Beautiful") or percussive muscularity ("Ugly Beautiful"), or out- there edginess ("Shmear.") But with "Cannonball," she and the band enjoy a ride down the Detroit groove. On "Relent," Putter Smith's bass drives the music forward, ten miles over the speed limit, with Piket on organ again, while Gross tightens up his sound in front of the relentless Mintz.

The set closes with "Retribution" and "After Retribution," ten minutes of dark, foreboding atmospherics to wrap up one the year's outstanding, modern-leaning recordings.

Track Listing: Beautiful You; Flight; Dit; Destiny; Haunted; Shmear; Cannonball; Beautiful; Ugly Beautiful; Relent; Retribution; After Retribution.

Personnel: John Gross: tenor saxophone; Roberta Piket: piano, organ, vocal(3); Putter Smith: bass; Billy Mintz: drums.

Title: Mintz Quartet | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Thirteenth Note Records


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 "On Ceremony" CD/LP/Track Review On Ceremony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Reflections in Cosmo" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections in Cosmo
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Lookin' East" CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Fe" CD/LP/Track Review Fe
by James Nadal
Published: August 30, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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