Eric Mintel Quartet

Counting Beats

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 August 29, 2012

Baltimore Sun

Jazz and classical music come together on the same stage when the Eric Mintel Quartet and the Columbia Pro Cantare join forces for a program of choral works composed by jazz pianist Dave Brubeck on Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. in the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High Scgool

Mintel enjoys putting together programs incorporating Brubeck's familiar jazz numbers with less frequently heard sacred choral compositions. That sacred side will be heard at the upcoming concert in four excerpts from "To Hope! A Celebration" and an excerpt from "Light in the Wilderness." Another Brubeck choral piece with inspirational content, "Hold Fast to Dreams," is based on a poem by Langston Hughes.

Joining the Eric Mintel Quartet for these pieces will be the Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus and Chamber Singers under music director Frances Motyca Dawson.

The concert also has a more secular side, as the jazz quartet comprised of Mintel on piano, Nelson Hill on saxophone and flute, Dave Mohn on drums and Jack Hedgyi on bass will perform an instrumental set including Brubeck's "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk."

Incidentally, the Eric Mintel Quartet will be joined on "Take Five" by two students at Wilde Lake High School: Aaron Robertson on flute and Anthony Sciabarra on alto saxophone. By way of making it a Columbia weekend, the Eric Mintel Quartet also performs a concert specifically for Wilde Lake High School students on Friday, May 4.

Besides showcasing Brubeck's sacred and secular sides at the May 5 Columbia Pro Cantare concert, Mintel will perform some of his own original compositions, including "Tranquility of Love."

Although the 44-year-old Mintel and the 91-year-old Brubeck are from different generations of jazz pianists, Mintel has strong professional and personal links to that legendary musician.

"Dave has been an inspiration to me both musically as well as humanly," says Mintel, who lives in Bucks County, Pa. "I have learned a lot of life lessons and a very hard work ethic as a jazzman. It goes beyond the music. I'm glad to share our music again and to be working with this incredible choir under the direction of Frances Dawson."

Mintel's links to Columbia Pro Cantare also qualify as strong. The upcoming Brubeck-themed concert is almost exactly the same as a program they did together at the Jim Rouse Theatre in 2005; and Mintel appeared most recently with Columbia Pro Cantare in a 2008 program exploring sacred choral compositions by another jazz great, Duke Ellington.

That's why Frances Dawson says she welcomes the opportunity to work with Mintel again.

"He's extremely generous with his time," says Dawson. "He also has an all-encompassing involvement with what he's doing. What makes a great jazz musician is the ability to perform in the moment and be sensitive to everything going on all around him."

In terms of what will be happening on stage, Mintel's jazz musicians and Dawson's classical singers promise to seamlessly mesh as they perform Brubeck's notated choral scores. These scores also contain sections where the jazz musicians are meant to improvise, which means that Mintel and the other three jazz musicians will spontaneously take the music wherever it leads them; as these improvised sections reach some sort of resolution, Dawson's choral forces will rejoin the musicians for another notated section.

MorristownGreen.com

Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet coming to Morristown on March 10

 Abendmusik, the concert series sponsored by Music At Morristown United Methodist Church, continues its 2011-2012 themed season (“Celebrating American Music”) with a concert on Saturday, March 10, at 7:30 pm featuring the Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet. That’s Eric Mintel on piano; Nelson Hill, saxes and flute; Jack Hedgyi, bass; and Dave Mohn, drums.

There is a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $12 for senior citizens. Advance tickets are available ($12 adults/$10 seniors) by calling 973-538-2132 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 973-538-2132 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. All students with ID are admitted free.

The concert will be presented at the church, at 50 Park Place (on the Green). Our facilities are handicapped accessible. A reception will follow the concert.

Pianist and composer Eric Mintel formed the Eric Mintel Quartet in 1993. Additionally a composer of orchestral and choral music, Eric performs his composition Millennium Suite (for orchestra and jazz quartet) with various symphonies throughout the country incorporating jazz and classical music. The quartet’s choral concerts feature the rarely heard sacred choral music of Duke Ellington performed with various choirs throughout the country combining jazz and choral music.

Eric performed at the White House for President Clinton in 1998. He has been interviewed and featured in Down Beat Jazz Magazine. In 2005, Eric was the featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR, and recently the quartet opened for Dave Brubeck at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Also in 2005, Eric released a three-CD boxed set of his jazz on the QVC television network. In 2006, the Eric Mintel Quartet was invited to XM Satellite Radio’s headquarters’ in Washington DC to play in XM’s Live Performance Theater. The quartet’s one-hour show aired on August 12, 2006, on Real Jazz XM 70.

With more than 10 concerts at the Kennedy Center and Eric’s willingness to bring jazz to different regions, this exciting performer continues to connect and communicate with audiences of all ages throughout the country and the world.

 Funding has been made possible in part by funds from the Arts Council of the Morris Area through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 For further information: 973-538-2132 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 973-538-2132 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or www.morristownumc.com

Princeton Echo

Arts Council of Princeton will present the Eric Mintel Quartet who will perform a Dave Brubeck Tribute concert. Among his achievements, pianist and composer Eric Mintel has performed at the White House for President Clinton, been interviewed and featured in Down Beat Jazz Magazine, and with his Quartet, opened for Dave Brubeck at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

In 1993 Eric Mintel, pianist, formed the Eric Mintel Quartet. A composer of orchestral and choral music, Mantel performs his composition “Millennium Suite” with various symphonies throughout the country incorporating jazz and classical music. The quartet’s choral concerts feature the rarely heard sacred choral music of Duke Ellington performed with various choirs throughout the country combining jazz and choral music. In June 2005 he was the featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR. In June 2006, the Eric Mintel Quartet was invited to XM Satellite Radio’s World Headquarters’ in Washington, DC to perform in XM’s Live Performance Theater. With over ten concerts at the Kennedy Center and Eric’s willingness to bring jazz to different regions, he continues to connect and communicate with audiences of all ages throughout the country and the world.

Mintel is scheduled to perform at the White House for President Obama two days before his Princeton concert.

Eric Mintel and the Eric Mintel Quartet have cultivated one of the most distinctive styles in jazz, combining a delicate lyrical sense with a powerful and dramatic musical force. Going beyond traditional forms and standard techniques of American jazz, this quartet is changing the landscape of jazz and broadening its audience.

The EMQ performed concerts at the Kennedy Center from 1999 to 2005 and most recently the United Nations in August of 2012. Eric was a featured guest on the Peabody Award winning program Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR. The EMQ has performed at the JVC, Mellon, Hartford, Takoma and Savannah Jazz Festivals. The EMQ has also been featured on National television news programs including the CW11 News in New York City and the NBC 10 Show in Philadelphia. It has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Down Beat, Jazz Times and Jazziz magazine.

Designated a living jazz legend, Dave Brubeck says of Eric Mintel “As long as the music attracts dedicated young musicians like Eric Mintel and the Eric Mintel Quartet, jazz will continue to thrive and progress as a voice of freedom.” Eric Mintel is constantly writing new and challenging music. The Eric Mintel Quartet consistently delivers thrilling performances and in doing so, has endeared them to a new generation of jazz fans.

Pennington Post

On Sunday, Dec. 4, the Eric Mintel Quartet, a nationally renowned jazz ensemble known for performing at both the White House and the prestigious Kennedy Center, will be coming to the Pennington United Methodist Church to perform a holiday concert. The quartet will be joined by local choirs, making it all a very special evening of collaborative Christmas favorites.

Together with the area singers, the quartet will be performing perennial holiday classics and original versions of songs by famed composer Vince Guaraldi, the man behind the immortal score for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Singers from both Mercer and Bucks County choirs will join Mintel and company, and also the the senior choir of Pennington United Methodist, currently led by Patricia Guth.

Set to be held in the church's sanctuary, the concert will begin at 7 p.m. Admission runs at a suggested donation of $10 per ticket, and tickets are available at the United Methodist Church now and on the day of the concert. According to church representatives, all proceeds from ticket sales will benefit CONTACT of Mercer County, which “provides 24-hour confidential, telephone listening and referral services to people in crisis.”

Pennington United Methodist Church is located at 60 South Main St. in the heart of Pennington. For more information or to pre-purchase tickets, call the church office at 609-737-1374 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 609-737-1374 end_of_the_skype_highlighting . To schedule an interview with the Director of Music or Pastor Daniel Casselberry, call the church office at 609-737-1374 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 609-737-1374 end_of_the_skype_highlighting . You can also visit the church online at www.pumcnj.com.

Hartford Courant

Eric Mintel Holiday Concert Plays Tribute To Brubeck, Charlie Brown

November 29, 2011|By OWEN MCNALLY, Special to The Courant, The Hartford Courant

Inspired by the iconic Dave Brubeck, pianist/composer Eric Mintel is on a mission to spread the word about the power and the glory of jazz and its ability to bring people together in a kind of musical communion.

Mintel leads his quartet Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. at The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown in a celebratory concert that combines a tribute to Brubeck with holiday music from TV's famous Charlie Brown Christmas specials

"Jazz provides the opportunity to really change peoples' lives for the better. I've seen that happen over and over again where we bring people together through the music," Mintel says from his home in Morrisville, Pa.

Since forming the Eric Mintel Quartet in 1993, the pianist has kept his group at the top of its game in a financially strapped, fiercely competitive jazz world where few bands survive that long.

Mintel's quartet has played in top spots from the White House (for Bill Clinton in 1998) and the Kennedy Center to Marian McPartland's prestigious "Jazz Piano" show on NPR and the JVC Jazz Festival.

Mintel will perform Brubeck classics and some originals at a White House dinner reception for the Obamas on Dec. 14.

"When we played there for President Clinton in '98, it was surreal. As I sat at the piano, I could not believe that we were actually there playing my music for the President," he recalls.

As stunned as Mintel and his sidekicks were back then, they hoped that the saxophone-playing president just might possibly sit-in with them, officially affixing the Commander-in-Chief's seal of approval on the EMQ.

"We even brought a tenor saxophone with us into the White House and had it all set up and ready to go. But President Clinton couldn't do it because he was on the receiving line all night," Mintel says.

Later that evening, the EMQ and other entertainers were ushered into the White House's Diplomatic Room where they met with the President for a photo op.

All that experience is indelibly fixed in Mintel's most treasured musical memories that stretch back to a major turning point in his life, his Brubeck "epiphany." That life-shaping experience occurred when, as a piano-addicted 14-year-old, Mintel was exploring his parents' extensive classical, rock and jazz record collection.

"I stumbled on a 45 with the Dave Brubeck Quartet's 'Take Five' on one side and 'Blue Rondo a la Turk' on the other. I put 'Take Five' on the turntable and had this instant connection and awareness that this was the music I wanted to play even though I didn't even know that it was, quote-unquote, jazz."

As Mintel, who's now 44, went on to form his own quartet and forge his own independent voice, the Brubeck connection has lived on. Not only has the pair become good friends, but the EMQ has opened for the DBQ at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, and, in turn, Dave has written liner notes for Eric's recordings.

Brubeck is one of the greatest popularizers of modern jazz, which he believes in as a spiritual force for the good of humanity. Now in his footsteps, Mintel is advocating the same faith in jazz as a life-force offering an ecumenical message to all.

All Music Guide

This box set from pianist Eric Mintel collects three of the jazz musician's recordings, including 2002's Hopscotch, 2004's Dynamo, and 2005's Four on the Floor. A deft improviser and composer, Mintel brings to mind an organic mix of such influences as Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk. As such, he displays a gift for swinging melodies, odd time signatures, and some classical themes. This is urbane, precise, but still passionate modern jazz that is the epitome of intellectual good taste.