Bob Mintzer – Incredible Journey

I haven’t done many saxophone solos from big band recordings, so I let my current Bob Mintzer kick lead me into his big band work. If you haven’t heard his big band recordings, check them out, I highly recommend them. The big band seemed like a vehicle to showcase his writing (which is excellent) and served as cheap marketing for his charts, which every high school in my area played when I was growing up. Bob got all of the top New York players to record these, so the section playing and soloing are all top-notch.

I devoured these recordings when I was in high school. Our band played many of these charts over the years, and even commissioned Bob to write a chart for us and perform the world premier together with our band. I thought that was pretty cool then, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it until much later.

Bob was super nice and of course a great player. I met him after a Yellowjackets show years later and joked that we had played a gig together. He thought I was serious until I told him that I was in the high school band he performed with. He thought it was funny, and remembered the band and my director from back then. He’s a real good guy.

This solo is great. It’s a cut time quasi-latin feel, very up-tempo. Lots of changes, and some of the lines are very tough. There’s a funky pedal section at the end of each chorus to break up the feel as well. The bari solo by Roger Rosenberg on the track is also very good (but very hard). I may get around to transcribing it some day as well. I’m overdue for some bari transcriptions!



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