Jazz CD Reviews

Bob Mintzer Big Band – For The Moment – MCG Jazz

A lively and engaging foray into the Brazilian musical experience.

Published on July 26, 2012

Bob Mintzer Big Band – For The Moment – MCG Jazz

Bob Mintzer Big Band – For The Moment – MCG Jazz MCGJ 1036, 54:31 ****:

Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world both by size and population. But its influence on music far outweighs these statistics, as it has developed some distinctive and innovative musical styles such as samba, lambada, and bossa nova. The Bob Mintzer Big Band explores some of these confections in their latest release For The Moment.

Fronting a boisterous seventeen piece organization plus guest artists Chico Pinheiro on guitar & vocals on several tracks and percussionist Alex Acuña on  some others, the band charges though the nine charts with enthusiasm and precision.

A taste of things to come starts with the opening track entitled “Aha” which according to Mintzer in the liner notes is in a “baião groove”. The baião which is both a musical form and a dance originates in rural Brazil, but its influence has reached into Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Mintzer takes the tenor solo in a playful trade-off with the band, as well as pianist Russell Ferrante in his own solo spotlight. The next two tracks “Um Filme” and “Irrequieto” feature the guitar, singing, and composing talents of Chico Pinheiro. This multi-dimensional musician originates from São Paulo and although initially self-taught, he did receive a music degree from the Berklee College of Music. Both his compositions as interpreted by Mintzer and the band reflect the essence of contemporary Brazilian music.

That lovely ballad “For All We Know” is given a slow bossa nova tempo but with the brass section and the woodwinds contributing an interesting interplay. Two Brazilian musical giants, Baden Powell and Antonio Carlos Jobim, penned “Berimbau” and “Corcovado” respectively, and both offer a framework for Mintzer’s arranging magic. In the former, Mintzer facilitates the theme by using a trombone choir and drums with trombonist Michael Davis finding his forceful solo voice. On the latter, Pinheiro again delivers a charismatic vocal all the while showing his guitar mastery. The final tune is another Mintzer original entitled “Ouro Preto,” named after a former colonial mining city located in the mountains in the state of Minas Gerais. Given its unique Baroque architecture, the city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNECSO. While this may be interesting, the tranquility offered by the city is certainly not reflected in Mintzer’s upbeat and complex composition punctuated by a tenor sax solo from Bob Malach.

For The Moment is a lively and engaging foray into the Brazilian music experience from an absolutely first rate big band.

TrackList: Aha; Um Filme; Irrequieto; For All We Know; Berimbau; For The Moment; Recife; Corcovado; Ouro Preto

—Pierre Giroux

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