Sunday, January 9, 2011

Of Bob Mintzer

Calvin and Hobbes, my absolute favorite comic strip ever. Sometimes I have the wisdom and smarts of Hobbes. Other times I'm more the idiot wrecking ball that Calvin can be. Read on and you'll see.

So, I'm sitting in my hotel room in New Orleans. The JEN (Jazz Education Network) Conference here has just wrapped up. Three days of fantastic clinics, presentations and performances. This is the organization that has arisen out of the ashes of IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education).This is the 2nd conference the organization has put on and they are doing a great job. Kudos to them.

On Friday I went to hear a clinic/performance by Jeff Coffin and his Mutet. Great sounding band. And their bassist is Felix Pastorius, son of the legendary electric bassist Jaco. When I walked in the hotel meeting room there was a lot of people in there. But I decided to look for a seat up front. Lo and behold, there was a spot in the front row. And who do I sit right next to? Bob Mintzer. He was doing what most 20 somethings would be doing while waiting in a room for something to start, texting and checking e-mail on his phone. After a few minutes he looked and me and said do I know you?" I told him we had spoke for a little bit at last year's conference and that I was the one that had given him some rehearsal recordings of Rite Of Spring arranged for big band.

Now, when I gave that disc to him, I really didn't expect him to listen to it. I know that lots of people give recordings to people as well established in the business as Bob Mintzer hoping for some help or validation. I'm sure he never gets around to listening to most of them. But when I mentioned Rite he said "Oh yeah, that was some interesting stuff. That was a great idea." That felt really good. Then I thought about how I had dissed him in one of my earlier blogs. Then I wondered, what if he had actually checked out the blog? I think the materials I gave him might even have had the address for the blog. Oh man, I'm an idiot.

Bob Mintzer is one of the best tenor saxophonists in all of jazz. And he really is a very accomplished composer and arranger. Just listen to the tunes that he has written and recorded with The Yellowjackets. He has a great sense of melody, harmony and groove. And he has accomplished more than I could ever hope to do. And I just go and write all this highly opinionated and probably insulting blather. What a dweeb. So here is my conclusion:

I want to formally apologize to Bob Mintzer for saying such things. And though I will always have opinions on art of any kind, I will try to keep my personal tastes and opinions out of such public statements and offer artists like Bob Mintzer the respect they deserve.

As for the recording, we get to, and hopefully finish, the mixing this month. Hopefully mastering very soon after. Stay tuned.

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