Bob Mintzer Big Band – Live at MCG with Special Guest Kurt Elling
Live at MCG
with Special Guest Kurt Elling
Bob Mintzer Big Band
(Telarc – 2004)
by Paula Edelstein
Big bands in the 21st Century have taken on a different character than their Swing Era predecessors. Today’s Big Bands still feature the great wind, brass and rhythm sections of that bygone era and most notably a great vocalist fronting the band at very special moments. But many of them stray from the model set by such great bandleaders as The Dorsey Brothers, Goodman, Basie, Ellington, Herman, Kenton, or James. But Tenor saxophonist and bandleader Bob Mintzer taps into the rhythmic vitality of this great genre with a bop-oriented big band and is still keeping the 40’s-type flame alive with LIVE AT MCG. This great collection of standards features special guest vocalist Kurt Elling singing “My Foolish Heart,” “All Is Quiet,” and Herbie Hancock’s “Eye of The Hurricane” in addition to the bop and swing numbers “One O’Clock Jump,” and several originals he’s written.
Elling’s vocalese on “Eye of The Hurricane,” brings hard bop scatting to a new level and he does it with a great degree of success and innovation. This section is definitely a centerpiece of the recording. Bob Mintzer’s big band charts are not immediately identifiable but for all his virtues, his role as bandleader indicates that he should hold on to these players for years. They bring an excitement to “Gently,” “Timeless” and “Who’s Walkin’ Who” that all lovers of big band music can easily get into. Check it out. You’ll be glad you dig!