Before his world-renowned work fronting the Yellowjackets, Bob Mintzer led one of the heaviest big bands in jazz. The New York saxophonist and arranger enlisted some of the world’s top players for his first Horn Man Big Band album, Papa Lips. Featuring big sounds and fierce blowing from Mintzer and fellow horn men Dave Sanborn, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker and Marvin Stamm, the album also features swinging, funk-influenced rhythm work by bassist Will Lee and drummer Peter Erskine, and tasty piano chops from the late great Don Grolnick. A rare gem previously released in only Japan, this new release showcases a glorious start to an important latter-day big band.
Better known as a big band and session player, tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist Bob Mintzer expanded his playing and his repertoire on this '90 quartet date. Working with guitarist John Abercrombie, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Peter Erskine, Mintzer moved into more probing, unpredictable, and challenging areas and played with more fire and conviction. Abercrombie, Johnson, and Erskine each fulfilled their reputations; the results were both enlightening and surprising.
Yellowjackets reedman Bob Mintzer, best-known outside that group for his big band recordings, steps out in a more straight-ahead jazz direction with Quality Time. Several of the tracks have a feel similar to the Yellowjackets acoustic work, while "All Is Quiet" sounds like a Coltrane ballad from the mid-'60s. On eight of the album's ten tracks, Mintzer's supporting cast includes pianist Phil Markowitz, bassman Jay Anderson and drummer Peter Erskine. The remaining two cuts are probably outtakes from recent Yellowjackets' recording sessions, with Mintzer playing bass clarinet beside Russell Ferrante's clavinet on the group-written "Emit A1," and the quartet showing its acoustic chops on "Family."
The pairing of Bob Mintzer and Gil Goldstein as a duo is an inspired affair. With Mintzer playing tenor sax and Goldstein on piano, they each contributed a number of strong originals to the date. Mintzer's moody ballad "Longing" and intricate bop vehicle "Where's the Word" are among his finest compositions on CD. Goldstein's "Three Little Initials" is a subtle variation of the well known "Body and Soul."
Source is Bob Mintzer's second album as a leader. Recorded in 1982 for the Cheetah label, it was previously released only in Japan. Source was recorded with an alternating larger ensemble that includes in various places keyboardists Don Grolnick and Mark Gray, guitarist Hugh McCracken, bassists Jaco Pastorius (with whom Mintzer had tenured on the Word of Mouth big band LP), and Will Lee, drummers Peter Erskine and Brian Brake, and horn players Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, and Alan Rubin, among others. In many ways this foreshadows the work that Mintzer would do with the Yellowjackets eight years later.
Bob Mintzer is a jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger, and big band leader based in Los Angeles, California. Bob Mintzer, born January 27, 1953 and a native of New Rochelle, New York is what's known as a triple threat musician. He is equally active in the areas of performance, composing/arranging, and music education. While touring with the Yellowjackets or his own quartet, or big band, Bob is busy writing music for big band, various small bands, saxophone quartets, orchestral and concert band music.