The extraordinary saxophonist/composer Bob Mintzer and master drummer Peter Erskine go back nearly 50 years since their high school days in a big band at the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy. Afterwards, when Bob was in Buddy Rich’s big band and Peter worked with Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson, their paths crossed often. But in the 1980s in New York City, their big band collaborating took full root, resulting in numerous projects over the years. Now both of them are in Los Angeles and the outstanding new album Bob Mintzer – All L.A. Band on Fuzzy Music is the latest gem to blossom from this fruitful relationship.
Joined by some of the finest musicians on the L.A. scene for ten marvelous tracks, they have added another component that is both ambitious and ingenious to the mix. Through Fuzzy Music Mobile, they have developed a new app that brings the stimulating big band experience directly to students and musicians, allowing them to play along, record and mix their own versions of this inspired music. Where most play-along products allow the user to music-minus two or three tracks, this new app allows the user to minus (or solo) virtually any of the instruments involved in the recording. Each part can be printed directly from the app, and resultant play-along recordings can be mailed to teachers, colleagues and friends.
But the primary treasure is in the music itself, whether participating through the app or simply enjoying the remarkable music contained in this album. Bob and Peter are joined by 15 splendid musicians – a trumpet section of Wayne Bergeron, James Blackwell, John Thomas, Chad Willis and Michael Stever; Bob McChesney, Erik Hughes, Julianne Gralle and Craig Gosnell on trombones; Bob Sheppard on alto and Adam Schroeder on baritone join Bob in the reed section; pianist (and Bob’s fellow Yellowjackets colleague) Russ Ferrante; guitarist Larry Koonse; Edwin Livingston on bass and Aaron Serfaty on percussion. In addition to playing drums, Peter also supervised the project and produced the recording.
The collaborative relationship between Mintzer and Erskine is the central nervous system upon which this entire journey is constructed. Bob’s exceptional tenor is the primary story teller in the plot and theme provided by his brilliant compositions and arrangements. His writing is highly imaginative and wonderfully textured with layer upon layer of sonic brushstrokes painted on the canvas. Call and response, thrust and parry, multi-leveled conversation and bold counterpoint create harmonic and rhythmic structure and tension that challenge in contemporary fashion while remaining thoroughly musical in the finest traditions of the big band legacy from Basie and Ellington to Charles Mingus and George Russell.
Bob’s experience with Buddy Rich clearly instilled a sense of the drums providing the big band’s engine. Peter’s impeccable rhythmic sense and consummate artistry provide the mortar that fortifies the structure, while also stirring the kettle to properly cook all the ingredients in the brew – whether driving powerfully, enhancing subtly, rocking or stomping as demanded by the music.
Be The First To Review This Product!
Help other Birdland Records users shop smarter by writing reviews for products you have purchased.