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Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band: Soundscapes (album review by Christa V.)

Mintzer is a veteran saxophonist and composer who has also been leading the WDR Big Band for about five years when this album came out. It immediately stands out as one of his finest works. The blend of Mintzer’s prowess as an arranger and a soloist mixed with the technical skill of the band he’s been leading for years creates an impressively tight and expressive album. “A Reprieve” starts the album off with a bang, showcasing the solidarity of the group. “Herky Jerky” is another stand out song, with a great beat that’s impossible to not bop along to. It’s difficult to highlight any individual soloists as they are all amazing across the board, but I would particularly highlight those on “The Conversation.” This album is firing on all fronts: the ensemble, the soloists, the composer, all of them work excellently together! Favorite tracks: 1, 2, 3, 7

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