Bob Mintzer: The Art of Being a Musician – Part I

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I first met Bob Mintzer in 1983 during previews of a Broadway show, Marilyn. I subbed for him at that show and several others over the years including Barnum, Song and Dance, and Cats. It was hard for me to grasp how a great jazz talent like Bob could function as a multi-reedist doing that kind of work, but I soon realized that he treated those jobs with the same level of professionalism as he did with his own projects. And by the way, he sounded wonderful on all the saxophones, clarinets, and flutes that he was required to play on those gigs—a formidable doubler! I have been a fan of Bob’s playing and music for many years and had the opportunity on several occasions to feature him as a guest artist while working with my university jazz ensemble. It was enlightening to see how he immediately could grasp the level of the ensemble, their strengths and weaknesses, and in a short time elevate the entire group’s performance. In all these situations, Bob’s musical integrity was on display and made me realize how a musician should treat others. I am so pleased that we could connect and offer this video interview. Please investigate Bob’s website for a more complete picture of his many accomplishments and offerings:


About the Artist: Over the past half-century there have been several outstanding jazz talents who have been top-tier players, composers, and arrangers. Bob Mintzer is at the very top of that list in addition to being a formidable big band leader and music educator. After gaining experience as a tenor saxophonist in the bands of Tito Puente, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Sam Jones, Jaco Pastorius, and working in every imaginable musical situation as a freelancer in NYC, Bob began his own big band in 1984 with the issue of his first album: Horn Man Band. Since then, Bob has created 16 big band albums under his name which feature great jazz artists along with his own playing and writing skills. Since 2014 Bob has also been the principal conductor/arranger of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. He has created the last 3 albums with that esteemed ensemble including their most recent: Soundscapes. As a leader of small groups, he has released 17 recordings in addition to appearing as a guest soloist on numerous projects of others. Since 1991, Bob has been a member of the formidable jazz/rock/fusion quartet, The Yellowjackets. His writing and performing abilities have been featured on their concerts worldwide as well as on their last 23 albums. In 2008, Bob and his family relocated from NYC to southern California in order to serve as a professor of jazz studies at the Thornton School of Music at USC. He has contributed to the expanding field of jazz pedagogy with 8 books that explore developing one’s jazz improvisational skills as well as saxophone prowess. In the concert field, Bob has written 3 saxophone quartets and a work for tenor saxophone and concert band.


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