140

Pete Zimmer Quintet: Common Man

Jochem van Dijk By

Sign in to view read count
Pete Zimmer Quintet: Common Man Common Man is a crafty collection of mostly originals by drummer and session leader Pete Zimmer, strictly within a Fifties bop idiom with strokes of modal playing. This is a record made by mainstream sidemen who love to blow, pure and simple.

Zimmer and his pals obviously can play, and they have a nose for patching together well-constructed tunes with memorable themes. The main reason, though, why they all sound so well constructed and memorable is more because they are directly derived from the big hits of bop, rather than thoroughly worked out ideas that flourish in a universe of their own.

Playing this record invites a whole Jeopardy category called "Been Bop": "Search" revamps "Caravan," the title tune "Common Man" and "5AM Blues" wouldn't exist without Kind of Blue , the theme of "A Whole New You" throws two hands full of Parker-riffs in the blender, and so on. It comes as quite a surprise when the opening bars of "Darn that Dream" actually segue into that very same tune—performed straight out of the The New Real Book, with only a few chord substitutions of the most basic nature.

That the references are so multitudinous—and obviously intentional—is of course not necessarily a problem. As a CD to sell at live dates, or as a demonstration to the outside world of the scope and craftiness of the leader's playing, it is a well-rounded product that has all the essential ingredients for these purposes: the tunes are well-rehearsed, sport well-chosen tempos and different moods, display a level and character of swing that varies from tune to tune, and supply neat and tidy solos by all, with Joel Frahm's as the most eloquent.

But if you play this CD for reasons other than being reminded of a fun gig, you might feel yourself aching for something as simple as a change in dynamics within a song, a subtle floating of a tempo: something which shows some depth of interpretation. As heartwarming the enthusiasm is, and as well-rounded the instrumental prowess, in the end it doesn't stretch very far beyond successfully blowing over same-ole, same-ole changes. Altogether Common Man is not unlike a high-level final exam project.

There is considerable talent here. But if Pete Zimmer intends to build an oeuvre on CD designed to stand the test of time, then for the next project he might want to raise the bar considerably. A deepening of the powers of interpretation in combination with a quest for a compositorial context outside of mainstream-as-written-in-stone, is definitely in order. After all, traditional bop in this day and age might be too small and inward-looking a world to eternally circle around in.

Track Listing: Search; Road Taken; Common Man; A Whole New You; Time That Once Was; 5 A.M. Blues; Hustlin; Daytona; Darn That Dream; Common Man(alt. take)

Personnel: Pete Zimmer(d), Michael Rodriguez(tp), Joel Frahm(ts), Toru Dodo, Rick Germanson(p), John Sullivan(b)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Tippin' Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "The Dead Man" CD/LP/Track Review The Dead Man
by James Nadal
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Dharma
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review Prague After Dark
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "The Volume Surrounding The Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding The Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!