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.
The Bob Mintzer Big Band has been a part-time affair for the past 18 years, but somehow the orchestra always manages to sound like a regularly working band. The premise behind Gently was to have the Mintzer Big Band playing at a lower volume, with lyrical arrangements by the leader, along with a greater use of muted brass and flutes. However the orchestra still romps in places and the tempos vary. The big band (which boasts impressive musicianship) features solos from Mintzer on tenor, trumpeters Scott Wendholt, and Michael Mossman, trombonist Michael Davis, pianist Phil Markowitz, altoist Pete Yellin and others, with drummer Peter Erskine driving the ensembles.
Though Bob Mintzer normally works in the big band tradition, the tenor saxophonist does the occasional small combo session as well. In the Moment is one of those rare sets, recorded in one December 2004 session with the rhythm section of pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer John Riley. A completely straightforward mainstream jazz set in the post-bop tradition, In the Moment mostly consists of originals (the highlight of which is Markowitz's lovely ballad "Forgiveness"), with a respectful take on the ballad standard "Time After Time" and a playful, swinging version of Eddie Harris' soul-jazz hit "Listen Here" thrown in for variety.
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.
The First Decade by The Bob Mintzer Big Band is a collection from the leader's seven critically acclaimed big band albums on the DMP label. Bob Mintzer's unique writing and arranging for the big band led CD Review to call his band "the best big band ever".