“[Guy Mintus] is amongst the most exciting jazz talents on the scene. I highly recommend him to any presenter whether at a club, a PAC or with an orchestra. ”
– Mervon Mehta, Executive and Artistic Director Koerner Hall The Royal Conservatory of Music
Israeli pianist, composer, vocalist and educator Guy Mintus is equally at home whether he’s sharing the stage with jazz legends, composes for classical orchestras, is collaborating with masters of traditional music, working with kids or guesting as a soloist with Ska-Punk band Streetlight Manifesto with whom he performed at a sold-out Beacon Theater. Coming from a mixed heritage of Iraqi, Moroccan & Polish Jews, his music is a meeting point between different rivers of inspiration flowing freely into each other. A trained concert pianist with the energy of a rock-star and a jazz musician’s sense of adventure who’s unafraid to throw into the mix his native middle-eastern scales and rhythms.
Guy’s awards include the “Leonard Bernstein Award” by ASCAP and the Bernstein Family Foundation and the Prix du Public at the Montreux Jazz Festival’s solo piano competition. His debut record, “A Home in Between” has been selected as DownBeat Magazine’s Editor’s Pick while his sophomore release, “Connecting the Dots”, has been celebrated in concerts throughout the US, Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, Turkey and Kazakhstan including a New York CD release concert that has been recommended by the New York Times.
Guy’s recent record, A Gershwin Playground, was released on the prestigious label ENJA Records (Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner among others). The album provides a fresh, modern and very personal take on the music of Jewish-American musical giant while receiving international support from both critics and audiences alike.
Guy has been commissioned to compose works by the American Composers Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem East & West Orchestra. He has performed Rhapsody in Blue with the Bavarian Philharmonic, composed music for Miracle of Miracles, the new documentary about Fiddler on the Roof, by HBO director Max Lewkowicz and premiered his first piano concerto with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. Guy is an endorsed artist by Yamaha Pianos.
Guy is also a passionate educator having taught workshops in numerous situations, from the Royal Conservatory of Madrid to mid-western US universities to Refugee Camps around Europe. Most recently he released a semi-viral musical short film called “Can You Tell the Difference?”, shot at various Jewish-Arab primary schools in Israel that support the idea of coexistence.
The Guy Mintus Trio’s A Gershwin Playground, released by Enja Records.
Guy Mintus: piano, vocals / Omri Hadani: bass / Yonatan Rosen: drums
Guy Mintus about his brand new trio production A GERSHWIN PLAYGROUND:
“After two albums of mainly original music, it felt right to take on the challenge of making a personal artistic statement through a canonic body of work. George Gershwin’s catalogue was a very natural choice as I have known some of the songs on this album since I was 10 years old. I am continuously astounded by how relevant, multi-layered and full of possibilities Gershwin’s music remains. For me, the definitive guideline in creating the interpretations on this album has been the lyrics.
Bringing these songs into my trio’s singular “playground” while telling the stories conveyed through each song in our own musical language has been a real joy. At times, we took a more poppy “singer songwritery“ approach, at other times throwing in some groovy middle-eastern elements or a meditative ”prayer like“ moments. Yet above all, of swing, playfulness and joie de vivre.
The cover of “A Gershwin Playground” was also heavily inspired by the lyrics as we created the playground from objects representing lyrics of different songs (“cotton”, “fish”, “hat”, “tea”, “tomato”, “lamb” and more). Along with those we’ve also incorporated classic game elements as well as objects that signify Gershwin, the trio’s history, past travels and my own personal history (in example the wooden horse I have since 3 years old).
Making a Gershwin album in 2020 as an Israeli musician who spent seven years in New York dedicating my life to the Black American art form called Jazz. In 1935, Gershwin refused to premiere Porgy & Bess at the Metropolitan Opera because the Met would not allow Black performers at the time. That decision by the composer ensured that the opera would only be presented with Black vocalists until this day. To me, this is a form of allyship and advocacy I very much stand behind.
The performance of Rhapsody in Blue is dedicated to the memory of the “Jewish Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra” at the Displaced Persons Camps of Landsberg and Feldafing. My relationship with the piece is special to me as I have performed it for the first time with Bayerische Philharmonie at a concert commemorating 70 years Leonard Bernstein’s concert with the ”Displaced Person’s Orchestra. Since then, the piece, has become part of my musical DNA as I’ve got to perform it dozens of times in different formations including a solo performance at the salon of Jamie & Nina Bernstein, the daughters of the Maestro Bernstein.“
“ Mintus, ... pours together a mixed brew of influences — Arabic maqam, Jewish folk song, Eastern European dance rhythms and, especially, classic hard bop — with such ebullient grace that you’d think they all originated in the very same place.”
-The New York Times
“An artist of prodigious talent and boundless ambition”
“A trained concert pianist, with the energy of a rock-star, and a jazz musician’s sense of adventure, his performances are boundary–crossing and unique.”
-Janet Horvath, Interlude
“What a pleasure to have the trio with us. I first encountered Guy when he served as pianist for Mira Awad. He impressed me then as a young pianist with great chops but also an artist with something new to say. I then saw and heard him at a solo house concert, with orchestra and on his many cd’s.He is amongst the most exciting jazz talents on the scene. I highly recommend him to any presenter whether at a club, a PAC or with an orchestra. The revelation for me on his most recent visit to Koerner Hall with trio was the interplay with and quality of the two sidemen. They were not back up players to a star pianist. The three of them had a fully formed idea of each song and played with nuance, virtuosity and imagination. A joy from start to finish. Presenters should jump at the chance to bring Guy quickly!”
-Mervon Mehta, Executive and Artistic Director Koerner Hall The Royal Conservatory of Music
“A brilliant musician, composer, and arranger who melds a multicultural vision with the passion and fury of jazz greats.”
“Mintus unfurled blues-infused jazz and Middle Eastern lines with consummate and natural ease.”
“Talented young musical emissary who expertly blend the folkloric sound of his homeland with the improvising aesthetic of jazz.”