Bob Mintzer has honed his musical career leading several bands, playing with giants of jazz and rock’n’roll, and composing music across the wide spectrum of sound.
For over 20 years, the tenor saxophonist has been the leading reedsman for the Grammy-winning group Yellowjackets while contributing to musical education at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles along with various symphony orchestras and ensembles across the United States and the world.
Mintzer stands out among contemporary saxophonists as both a traditionalist and a vanguard progressive, always searching for new modes of expression to further his personal artistry and to elevate and expose jazz to the world.
Mintzer’s impressive history boasts an astounding lineup of collaborators, including rock giants Queen, Donald Fagan and Steve Winwood. In the jazz world, he’s worked alongside legends like drummer and leader of the Jazz Messengers Art Blakey, innovative bassist Jaco Pastorius, fiery Latin jazz bandleader Tito Puente, and composer/arranger Gil Evans. He’s even played with the New York Philharmonic and a host of other prestigious classical ensembles.
Mintzer also contributes to music’s legacy through writing numerous instructional books on jazz, which encompass alto and tenor saxophones and other instruments including bass clarinet and flute. Principally a tenor saxophonist, Mintzer’s outstanding dexterity on a variety of instruments elicits a seamless and diverse atmosphere of consummate creativity, which he shares with the world through a multitude of outlets.
As an integral member of the Yellowjackets, which he joined in the 1990s. Mintzer wanted to give the music a more jazz-oriented feel than their previous R&B shades. Because of this, almost every album the Yellowjackets have released in the last 20 years has been nominated for Grammy Awards, either for “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance”, “Best Contemporary Jazz Album”, or “Best Instrumental Composition”.
Mintzer’s solo efforts have also garnered great attention. He has received several Grammy nods for his solo albums, winning in 2011 for his “Homage to Count Basie” which won the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Recording” award.
Although frequently playing on both big stages and small clubs around the world, Mintzer currently resides in Los Angeles in the former home of revered modern classical composer Arnold Schoenberg. Mintzer is a professor at USC, spends about four months out of the year on the road, and he practices and writes constantly. As an icon of diverse and wide-ranging musical success, Mintzer is a fantastic role model for any young or blossoming musician.
See the Video below for an example of Bob’s competence and brilliant Jazz prowess. Tortoise and the Hare as released on the Yellowjackets 1998 album, Politics: