If one thinsk of Washington as a microcosm of the national music scene, then Tim Eyermann is the local equivalent of Herbie Mann. Both Mann and Eyermann play pretty flute instrumentals that are easy to follow but facing in personality.And both win a far larger share of the jazz audience than the deserve.
Few D.C. bands ever get a four-might stand at a national showcase like Blues Alley, where Eyermann began such a stand last night. He and his quintet played a set of originals and jazz standards in the electrified jazz-rock style of Chick Corea at this most commercial. The arrangements stressed sharp medlodic and rhythmic accents to the exclusion of harmonies and counterpoints.
This fall Eyermann split with his long-time band, the East Coast Offering. Last nighthe showed off his new band, and if every one was competent, no one was particulary exciting either. Phil McCuskter did take some personable guitar solos, but on the whole the band relied more on gimmicks such as echo and wa-wah than imagination.
Eyermann himself played seven different reed instruments with a nice melodic touch but less than over-whelming quickness. No one should mistake Eyermann's diluted jazz for the real thing. Just as Mann's commercial Success obscured many supeior national jazz artists, so Eyermann's success obscures talented local jazz musicians such as Terry Plumeri, Bernard Sweetney and Carl Cornwell.