Two auditory phases appear from this work, the stimulating live performance from which a freefall of improvisation add to the success I feel this direct jazz effort will produce. The other is the dynamic vocal effort brought to the stage by Kurt Elling, very cool very unique, with a boatload of panache and at times scatt-esk elegance.
For the big band aficionados, Mintzer satisfies the taste buds of a long awaited appetite for the sound that brings fervor to even the most novice of jazz. Twenty years have made this fine effort stand alone along with the help of Kurt Elling. Lets not forget also some fine efforts from talents like Phil Markowitz on keys, John Riley shaving the skins, and Rufus Reid bringing the bass to the forefront, along with others.
Two cuts will jump out at the listener as soon as they push play. "Eye of the Hurricane" is scat driven, hot and heavy with a strong rebirth to an old and intensity motivated improv-technique. Elling along with the Bob Mintzer Big Band makes this cut swirl with winds of vengeance.
"All is Quiet" is a gentle and passionate ballad co written by Elling and Mintzer. The saxophone throughout the piece is a strong foundation for any romantic interlude. The piano is soft yet tenderly exposed as Elling’s voice serenades the audience and lonely hearts.
If at all a fan of excellence in jazz, splice this into your life at some time. The Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, alongside Mintzer make a solid contribution to jazz in 2004.