THE ERIC MINTEL QUARTET, JUST AROUND THE CORNER

If you’re a jazz fan who visits or lives in Bucks County, PA, you’ve probably heard of pianist Eric Mintel. A naturally gifted musician who learned to play Brubeck’s “Take Five” during his earliest piano lessons, he formed his quartet in 1993 and has accumulated a host of accolades since then – everything from performing at the White House to being a featured guest in 2005 on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR. “Just Around The Corner” is Mintel’s tenth CD and the most fully realized effort from this impressive artist. Apart from the percolating “That Happy Feeling,” Mintel avoids overt Brubeck licks to play looser, more contemporary compositions that would be right at home on some of pianist David Benoit’s mainstream jazz recordings. The spirited title track kicks things off but deeper in you’ll dig the catchy “Just Happened,” a 7+ minute workout flavored with a satisfying bass n’ drum groove. Other notable highlights include “Heart Of The Holidays,” sweetened for a December playlist but it stands on its own fresh originality. The interplay between Mintel and his band flows freely and the tunes, including the sumptuous ballad “As The Sun Rises,” exude melodic charm. Major credit goes to Nelson Hill on alto and soprano saxophone, electric bassist Jack Hegyi and drummer Dave Mohn, along with Jim McGee who recorded the band in real time (no in-studio fiddling or aural trickery) with immersive old-school analog sound. Mintel’s website has an up-to-date calendar so you too can hear this fine band throughout the region. (10 tracks; 65:41 minutes)   www.ericmintelquartet.com


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JAZZ IN SPACE: THE ERIC MINTEL QUARTET, JUST AROUND THE CORNER

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

THE ERIC MINTEL QUARTET, JUST AROUND THE CORNER

If you’re a jazz fan who visits or lives in Bucks County, PA, you’ve probably heard of pianist Eric Mintel. A naturally gifted musician who learned to play Brubeck’s “Take Five” during his earliest piano lessons, he formed his quartet in 1993 and has accumulated a host of accolades since then – everything from performing at the White House to being a featured guest in 2005 on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR. “Just Around The Corner” is Mintel’s tenth CD and the most fully realized effort from this impressive artist. Apart from the percolating “That Happy Feeling,” Mintel avoids overt Brubeck licks to play looser, more contemporary compositions that would be right at home on some of pianist David Benoit’s mainstream jazz recordings. The spirited title track kicks things off but deeper in you’ll dig the catchy “Just Happened,” a 7+ minute workout flavored with a satisfying bass n’ drum groove. Other notable highlights include “Heart Of The Holidays,” sweetened for a December playlist but it stands on its own fresh originality. The interplay between Mintel and his band flows freely and the tunes, including the sumptuous ballad “As The Sun Rises,” exude melodic charm. Major credit goes to Nelson Hill on alto and soprano saxophone, electric bassist Jack Hegyi and drummer Dave Mohn, along with Jim McGee who recorded the band in real time (no in-studio fiddling or aural trickery) with immersive old-school analog sound. Mintel’s website has an up-to-date calendar so you too can hear this fine band throughout the region. (10 tracks; 65:41 minutes)   www.ericmintelquartet.com


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