Pete Zimmer's quintet swings with a straight-ahead enthusiasm that captures the tradition inspired by a century of jazz. His trumpet/tenor saxophone front line strolls gracefully through this program of originals and standards. Zimmer drives the unit gently from the drum set, encouraging trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, saxophonist Joel Frahm, and both pianists in their search for the perfect solo improvisation.
"Common Man," the album's title track, exhibits the strength of a cohesive unit that speaks closely together, like peas in a pod. Not preferring to jump and shout, Zimmer stays the course with a magnetic quality. Solos around the room follow with the same mood as the quintet speaks lovingly of its tradition.
Critics of modern jazz complain that it moves too fast and that its intensity gives them headaches. With his debut album, Pete Zimmer reaches out to the common man and proves to him that modern, straight-ahead jazz can capture your heart and take you away from the ordinary. The music elevates his audience. Ballads such as "Time That Once Was" and "Darn That Dream" can lift your spirits gently. John Sullivan's bowed bass statements work miracles. Up-tempo romps, such as Frahm's "A Whole New You" and Zimmer's "Hustlin,'" provide drama and driving energy, while maintaining a hardy rhythmic spirit. Zimmer's brief drum solos provide the spice.
Audio samples and more may be found at the artist's web site .
Personnel: Pete Zimmer- drums; Michael Rodriguez- trumpet; Joel Frahm- tenor saxophone; Toru Dodo, Rick Germanson- piano; John Sullivan- bass.