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Bob Mintzer

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Bob Mintzer (born January 27, 1953), originally from New Rochelle, New York, is a jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger and big band leader based in Los Angeles. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy in 1970, Mintzer made his mark as a soloist, mainly on the tenor saxophone and the bass clarinet. He is also proficient on flute, EWI, and other saxophones and clarinets. He is a member of the jazz rock band the Yellowjackets, but among jazz fans is even better known for his inspiring big band work since the early 1980s in the Word of Mouth Big Band and then as the leader of the Grammy Award winning Bob Mintzer Big Band. He has been particularly successful in exploring new instrumental colorations (making frequent use of woodwinds doubling) and extending the big band concept into the funk and Latin domains, while never compromising on its jazz heritage.

In 2008, Bob succeeded pianist Shelly Berg to hold the Bowen H. “Buzz” McCoy and Barbara M. McCoy Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.

Mintzer plays Selmer Mark VI saxophones fitted with Freddy Gregory mouthpieces. He uses Vandoren V16 reeds for the tenor sax, and Bari plastic reeds on his soprano sax and bass clarinet. He also plays an Akai EWI (electronic wind instrument), an older model of the 1000 series. For recording with Yellowjackets, Mintzer prefers a Sennheiser 441 microphone.

Mintzer has been nominated for thirteen Grammy Awards both for his solo work and big band recordings (Art of the Big Band, Departure, Homage to Count Basie, One Music, and Only in New York) and his work with the Yellowjackets (Blue Hats, Club Nocturne, Dreamland, Greenhouse, Like a River, Live Wires, Mint Jam, Runferyerlife, Time Squared).

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