Pete Zimmer: Prime of Life (2012)
Guitarist Peter Bernstein, who has worked extensively with organists Melvin Rhyne and Larry Goldings, is a tangy presence here, whether laying down a slow, thoughtful, single-noting solo on "Tranquility," or with his ringing, organ-like chording on "Carefree."
George Garzone fronts this quartet outing. The somewhat underappreciated saxophonist seems to fall into the "musicians' musician" category, like Joe Henderson prior to the late saxophonist's late-career breakout recording, So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles) (Verve, 1992). Like Henderson, Garzone solos with a labyrinthine eloquence, smoking in front of bassist Peter Slavov's always solid, always subtle pulse and Zimmer's relentless simmer on "T.T.T.," one of three tunes Garzone contributes to this otherwise all-Zimmer-penned outing.
Where Garzone's "T.T.T" runs hot, Zimmer's "Night Vision" rides on a cool and laidback cruise control. It's a fluid roll, like a big new American-made sedan following its headlights along a freshly-paved highway, on a straight shot through the darkness over gentle rises and falls.
"Almost Home," at just a notch above ballad tempo, features Garzone's most beautiful blowing, and a very piquant solo by Bernstein, leading into the controlled burn of the closer, "The Three Petes," with Garzonethe group's only "non-Pete"serving up another of his engagingly circuitous saxophone soliloquies.
Track Listing: Prime of Life; One for GG; Tranquility; Carefree; Strollin' Down Bourbon Street; T.T.T.; Night Vision; Almost Home; The Three Petes.
Personnel: Pete Zimmer: drums; George Garzone: tenor saxophone; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Peter Slavov: bass.
Record Label: Tippin' Records