The Manchester Craftsman’s Guild in Pittsburgh offers another rousing live concert date in this varied program led by the eclectic saxophonist who is best known as one of the Yellowjackets — but whose early résumé also boasts everyone from Tito Puente to Thad Jones and the Mel Lewis Big Band. A dash here and a dollop there of each of these influences make this a varied date whose appeal extends beyond big-band fans and embraces those who love bebop, a touch of the avant-garde, the progressive spirit of the Yellowjackets (most notably Russell Ferrante, who contributes stunning percussive solos on pieces like the crazed, polyrhythmic “Mofongo”), and the great contemporary vocalist Kurt Elling. The singer shows a softly romantic and emotional side in extracting every heartfelt word on “My One and Only Love,” but engages even more with his lively roller coaster phrasing over the bold and booming arrangement of John Coltrane’s “Resolution.” Later original Mintzer highlights include the percussive blues-driven playfulness of “March Majestic,” the classic swinging of “Black Sand,” and the mix of funk beats and swirling horn arrangements on “Go-Go.” – Jonathan Widranmore »
Old School New Lessons
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