The Bob Mintzer Quartet isnt just a group pulled together for this album. Mintzers three additional musicians have been playing with him for years in Mintzers big band. As a result, the cohesive sound and intuitive playing found on the album should come as no surprise. Comprising nine tracks (six by Mintzer, one by pianist Phil Markowitz and two by other composers), the album is an example of traditional quartet jazz.
Mintzer takes center stage for most of the album. A talented reed player, he has a lively, flowing style well suited to his tunes. Drummer John Rileys quietly swishing cymbal taps unobtrusively keep time as Markowitz lightly accompanies Mintzers every note, accenting the pauses and filling out the chords. What is noticeably absent, however, is Jay Andersons bass. It takes a lot of intent listening to even make out the bass line when Mintzer isnt playing, and it is nearly impossible (or just requires too much effort) when Mintzer is taking the spotlight. And while Anderson is clearly talented, his playing is at a consistently low volume. Whether a fault of his or of the recording, its a little distracting.
While the album may not be too tarnished by the lack of bass, its always unfortunate to listen to what would otherwise be a solid album marred by circumstances not related to musicianship.
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