A student of history and architecture, Max Weinberg appreciated the significance of the Max Weinberg Big Band performing at the Guthrie Theater.
Monday’s performance was similar to the one the 16-piece, horn-dominated ensemble gave at the Dakota Jazz Club in July. Except there was considerably more room for the musicians and, frankly, the relatively new group seemed tighter as they tore through aggressive, swinging instrumental treatments of songs associated with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Quincy Jones and others.
The set list was similar (maybe identical) and Weinberg told mostly the same jokes, especially the recurring one about his affinity for TV shows that lasted less than one year (his band performed theme songs from such late 1950s shows as “Mr. Lucky” and “M Squad”).
Weinberg gave all his players considerable solo opportunities. Saxophonists Brandon Wright and Joey Berkley sparkled on a battle during “Rat Race.” Pianist Danny Fox impressed on “Swingin’ Shepherd's Blues” and “The Kid from Red Bank” (a Basie tune that also fits Red Bank resident Weinberg). Jon Gordon took a lovely lonesome sax solo on “Only the Lonely,” a Sinatra ballad that was a nice change of pace from the hard swingin’ tunes.
Like last time, the 100-minute set ended with interpretations of two tunes from  Weinberg’s “moonlighting job” with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. There were no guitars or vocals on “Born to Run” but the rock classic excited the crowd of about 500 as the entire five-man sax section played Clarence Clemons’ usual sax line. “Kitty’s Back”(arranged by trumpter Brian Pareschi) had the perfect dynamics for this big band, which eventually turned it into a terrific swing tune.
Speaking of the Boss, Weinberg said, “I think we’ll be on the road sooner rather than later.”

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