140

Pete Zimmer Quintet: Common Man

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 (drums), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Joel Frahm (tenor saxophone), Rick Germanson (piano on "Common Man," "5 A.M. Blues," "Daytona"), Toru Dodo (piano on all other tracks), John Sullivan (bass)

Title: Common Man | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Tippin' Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Pensamiento" CD/LP/Track Review Pensamiento
by James Nadal
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Lubbock (on everything)" CD/LP/Track Review Lubbock (on everything)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987" CD/LP/Track Review Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987
by John Kelman
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.