Bob Mintzer Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Canyon Cove
Bob Mintzer is a musical master of all trades: He plays tenor sax, flute and bass clarinet; he composes and arranges; he’s a leader of both large and small groups, and an educator (the Manhattan School Of Music and USC); and he has published almost half a dozen jazz educational books.
Oh yes, he’s also a 19-year veteran of the Yellowjackets. During his 34-year career, he has written more than 200 big band arrangements. His own large ensemble has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning one.
For this session, Mintzer utilized a “small jazz” unit, with Larry Fielding on the Hammond B3, and Peter Erskine on drums; Mintzer handles tenor sax, bass clarinet and flute. Judd Miller plays an electronic wind instrument on one track. Mintzer composed almost all the tracks; the album also includes a cover of Victor Young’s “When I Fall In Love.”
Each original composition is a tribute to the individuals – and music – that Mintzer has encountered during his career.
Many styles are featured: R&B (“Bugaloo to You”), bop (“Thaddeus” and “Bebop Special”) and rock (“Canyon Cove”). The rest draw upon blues and traditional jazz formats.
The common factor is simple and essential: They swing wonderfully.