3

Billy Mintz: Mintz Quartet

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Billy Mintz: Mintz Quartet What is remarkable about drummer's Billy Mintz's debut recording Mintz Quartet is his masterful versatility on his instrument. That is no surprise as Mintz, an in demand sideman, has played with a wide variety of musicians during his career ranging from disco diva Gloria Gaynor to saxophonists Lee Konitz and Charles Lloyd. A well-known educator and writer, Mintz also showcases his sophisticated compositional skills on this intriguing album.

"Ugly Beautiful" for example, is an intense and free flowing piece. It opens with pianist Roberta Piket's edgy, percussive yet intelligently woven improvised lines that are spiced with a hint of the blues. Mintz shades the melody with muted colors with his polyrhythmic vamps. Out this bubbling cauldron of darkly shimmering rhythms emerges tenorist John Gross' passionate and explorative saxophone pushing the proverbial envelope while eschewing atonality. Mintz's own turn in the spotlight finds him stretching out on a contemplative, elegant, and fluid extemporization that is angular yet it still swings.

A sense of the dramatic permeates the two-movement composition "Retribution" and "After Retribution." Bassist Putter Smith's atmospheric, haunting reverberations set the expectant mood on the former. The thudding echo of the bass drum and the crash of the cymbals add an ominous feel. Gross' long and darkly hued notes glide over Picket's exquisitely simmering organ chords. The hypnotic refrains evolve into a stimulating spontaneous and poetic group conversation. The second part starts off on a brighter tone but as the same motifs repeat and expand a more somber ambience prevails concluding with Piket's sparse and tolling piano.

There are also some more mainstream, if not exactly lighter, tunes on the record. These run the gamut from the unabashedly romantic (but not syrupy) "Destiny" with its Latin flavors, Piket's lush piano and longing vocals to the soul-jazz "Cannonball." The latter features Piket's earthy organ groove, Gross' blistering phrasing and Mintz's funky cymbal and drum works. The presence of these tracks next to ones like the gripping "Dit" with Mintz's fluid and innovative mixture of timbres and textures on the closing solo, definitely affects the thematic unity of the album but it also adds variety to it.

In the end, it is surprising, that a musician with this immensity of talent and such a unique approach has not lead a recording session before this. The Mintz Quartet hopefully is just the first of many discs from this exciting artist.

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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
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 "Towards Language" CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Rhythm and Romance" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythm and Romance
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Goodbye to Language" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye to Language
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau" CD/LP/Track Review Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 22, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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