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April 1999

Bob Mintzer
Quality Time
TVT

Certain titles on this quartet date indicate that Mintzer has composed with specific moods and rhythmic contexts in mind. His "All Is Quiet," "Bop Boy," "Groovetown," "Gather the Spirit," and "Bossa" are self-descriptive. He delivers the goods both as a composer and as a saxophonist and bass clarinetist throughout this very satisfying and complete album.

Best known as the reedman with the Yellowjackets and as an intermittent big band leader and arranger, Mintzer takes a supple, organic approach to improvisation. Technically, his tenor reminds you of Michael Brecker and Ernie Watts, although he is emotionally cooler than these two. He appears with two different rhythm sections: on eight tracks with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Peter Erskine and on two tracks with the Yellowjackets (keyboard man Russell Ferrante, bass guitarist Jimmy Haslip, and drummer William Kennedy).

The title tune is an infectious, bluesy jazz-rock vehicle. "A Few Good Notes," a fine example of melodic succinctness and logic, steps along at a two-beat pace. "Groovetown," with its medium-tempo walking bass, seems made for the Basie band. What we have in these and the remainder of the set, too, are strong writing (all by Mintzer except one tune by the Jackets) and first-rate improvising and rhythmic support.

Originally published in April 1999
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