Pianist Jim Pearce has been an Atlanta resident since the early 1970s and is an accomplished songwriter. The title tune, "Thirty Year Waltz," was deemed the Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting in the 2002 Great American Songwriting Contest.
This debut recording displays eleven of Pearce's compositions. The tunes all share an attractive mainstream jazz melody with the head delivered by either unison horns or Eric Smith's flute/Pearce's piano. Pearce plays organ on "Sustaining Influence" and "Tumbling" to add texture to the songs. He also sings in a Bob Dorough hipster fashion on "Play On" and gives Smith a chance to uncork a nice tenor sax solo. Smith also get a more extensive workout on both "Soy Sauce" and "Sunday Drive."
While it is fun to hear new tunes, my biggest regret is that Jim Pearce didn't include any standards or jazz standards in this album. Inclusion of a melody that most listeners know already would have gone a long way in making a positive impression. Pearce's group is nearly flawless, providing the pulse from Burney or McMurtry on bass, Fallat on drums and Gregory's trumpet and guitar on the ballad "On the Bridge at Night."
Track Listing: Muddy River Vamp, Thirty Year Waltz, Sustaining Influence, Play On, The Heart Comes Home, Intensely Six, On the Bridge at Night, Soy Sauce, Laughing Matter, Sunday Drive
Personnel: Jim Pearce, piano, organ, vocal; Herman Burney or Ray McMurtry, bass; Paul Fallat, drums;
Eric South, sax and flute; Ken Gregory, trumpet, guitar.