Mintzer has a knack for maintaining a melodic momentum in his arrangements. Utilizing each section of his band, themes are gracefully answered by counter melodies and punchy low brass accents. While there's nothing light about Mintzer's writing, or playing for that matter, there is a characteristic optimism, or rejoicing heard in his voicings, rhythms and orchestrations. These distinctive traits can be heard here on original compositions like the bouncy title track, the gospel swing of "Each Day" and the funky "Something Else." Mintzer's medium-tempo take on "My Shining Hour" is a lyrical tour de force, right down to the saxophonist's straight-forward reading of the melody.
Sharing equal billing with Mintzer's pen are a slew of top-notch soloists, most notably the leader himself on six tracks, pianist Phil Markowitz (title track, "My Shining Hour"), trombonist Larry Farrell ("Swangalang"), tenor saxophonist Bob Malach ("Each Day") and trumpeter Scott Wendholt ("Freedom Song"). Guest vocalist Kurt Elling shares his poetic vocalizing on Mintzer’s refreshing arrangement of Pat Metheny's "Minuano." The rhythm section of Markowitz, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer John Riley keep things tight and swinging, never overplaying yet comforting with their presence.
Swing Out is the kind of no-nonsense big band record that will appeal to long-time fans of Mintzer and just about anyone else who can appreciate well-crafted writing and inspired blowing.