John Gross / Billy Mintz

Beautiful You

origin 82426

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Tim Duroche, Willamette Week

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Recorded live at the Tugboat Brewing Co., Beautiful You is a stunning document. Tenor saxophonist John Gross and New York-based drummer Billy Mintz-both veterans of the L.A. studios and big bands-are singular forces on their respective instruments. Truly a musician's musician, Gross is a coolly compelling player with an elevated sense of beauty and tension. From his opening notes on "Shmear"-reminiscent of Sonny Rollins' thematic stabs on "East Broadway Rundown"-Gross shows his more classical avant-garde, elastic tone (? la Sam Rivers or Coltrane) with a lyrical, moody streak. Mintz is a masterful drummer who's distilled the innovations of Elvin Jones and Paul Motian, his most immediate stylistic peers, down to a deeply profound and suspenseful currency. Much of the album shines as a result of Mintz's compositions filled raw, heart-on-the-sleeve emotion wrapped around simple melodic themes. From the sensual, broken shuffle that opens "Haunted"-an aching, "Ave Maria"-like melody-to the title track, where Gross traverses space and melody with lucidity and a gentle (at times brazen) command, this gorgeous release reminds us that music's great secret lies in its silences.






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