Homage to Count Basie (DMP Records)

Bob Mintzer Big Band

Released October 17, 2000

Grammy Award Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 2002






A versatile soloist influenced by Michael Brecker on tenor, Bob Mintzer gained experience playing with Deodato, Tito Puente (1974), Buddy Rich, Hubert Laws, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (1977). In addition to leading his own bands starting in 1978, Mintzer worked with Jaco Pastorius, Mike Mainieri, Louie Bellson, Bob Moses, and the American Saxophone Quartet. He has guested with several philharmonic orchestras and led a fine big band in New York since the mid-’80s. Mintzer, a member of the Yellowjackets since 1991 (where his bass clarinet in particular adds a great deal of color to the group), recorded regularly for DMP for a decade before moving to TVT for 1998’s Quality Time. Homage to Count Basie followed in fall 2000.

Track Listing:

1. Havin’ Some Fun (Bob Mintzer) 07:55

2. April in Paris (Vernon Duke / E.Y. “Yip” Harburg) 06:07

3. One O’Clock Jump (Count Basie) 11:16

4. Lester Jumps Out (Bob Mintzer) 09:19

5. Cute (Neal Hefti) 05:56

6. Shinny Stockings 07:44

7. Home Basie (Bob Mintzer) 04:11 8. Lil’ Darlin’ (Neal Hefti) 08:44


Bob Mintzer: clarinet, flute, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone,

Lawrence Feldman: clarinet, flute, alto saxophone

Pete Yellin: clarinet, flute, alto saxophone

Scott Robinson: clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone

Roger Rosenberg: baritone saxophone

Bob Millikan: flugelhorn, trumpet

Byron Stripling: flugelhorn, trumpet

Scott Wendholt: flugelhorn, trumpet

Michael Philip Mossman: flugelhorn

Michael Davis: trombone

Larry Farrell: trombone

Keith O’Quinn: trombone

Dave Taylor: bass trombone

Phil Markowitz: piano

Dennis Irwin: double bass

James Chirillo: guitar

Brian Brake: drums John Riley: drums

Recorded May 16 – 17, 2000, at Ambient Recording, Stamford, CT

Produced by Bob Mintzer, Tom Jung

Recording Engineer: Tom Jung

Assistant Engineer: Mark Conese

Art Direction: Julie Hess


Anyone who can take my least favorite Basie recording, “April in Paris,” and make it sound as captivating as Bob Mintzer does on Homage to Count Basie (no “one more time!” or “one more once!”) has earned an enthusiastic thumbs–up without taking another step. But the talented tenor overlord doesn’t stop there; he “Mintzerizes” four other tunes associated with the Basie band and blends in three of his own compositions to produce a banquet fit for (the ears of) a King — or a Count. Mintzer does for Basie what Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra have done for Ellington, except (here’s an heretical thought) Mintzer’s band does it better. The reason lies in those “Mintzerized” charts, which go well beyond mere transcription to reinvigorate such overworked warhorses as “April in Paris,” “One O’Clock Jump,” “Cute,” “Shiny Stockings” and “Li’l Darlin’.” Mintzer’s three compositions are excellent as well, and one can almost hear Sammy Nestico muttering, “Damn! I wish I’d written that!” as he (or she) listens to the deeply–grooved opener, “Havin’ Some Fun” (which follows Nestico’s time–tested recipe so closely that Sammy probably could have written it). Mintzer salutes a former President with “Lester Jumps Out” and, as he writes in the liner notes, superimposes “the Basie sensibility on an R&B groove, what might have happened if Sly Stone and Count Basie teamed up,” on “Home Basie.” Like everything else on the album, it works. Speaking, as we were a few sentences ago, of havin’ some fun, Mintzer and the other soloists do precisely that, letting it all hang out on every number. The leader’s expressive tenor is heard with baritone Roger Rosenberg on “Fun,” with pianist Phil Markowitz, tenor Scott Robinson, trumpeter Scott Wendholt and bassist Dennis Irwin on “Lester,” and by itself on “Home Basie” (on which drummer Brian Brake replaces John Riley). Markowitz sits in for Basie on “April in Paris,” shares solo honors with Robinson, Rosenberg, trumpeter Byron Stripling, trombonist Larry Farrell and alto Pete Yellin on “One O’Clock Jump” and with Stripling and trombonist Keith O’Quinn on “Shiny Stockings.” Wendholt, Robinson and trombonist Michael Davis are the soloists on Neal Hefti’s “Cute,” Farrell and trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman on another Hefti composition, the even-tempered “Li’l Darlin’.” Mintzer has always employed world-class musicians, and Homage is no exception. These gentlemen are flat-out awesome, there are no audible shortcomings, and if they don’t swing quite as wildly as Basie, that’s only because no one ever has.

Jack Bowers (All About Jazz)