"WALKIN' WITH YOU," the new album by Tim Eyermann's East Coast Offering, is likely to be regarded by some critics as a commercially savvy release, while others will dismiss it as just another slick example of pop-jazz. Truth is, both views have merit.
Recently voted "Best Jazz Instrumentalist" at the Wammie awards, Eyermann wastes no time demonstrating his impressive gifts and versatility as a reedman here. He coaxes insinuating melodies from his saxophones and flute on tunes like "Catherine," and later he cuts loose on the feverishly percussive track "For Our Friends in the Back."
But just as obvious as Eyermann's talent are the commercial trappings -- the sweetened vocal choruses, the strings, the wash of electronics. And just in case you forget that this is a safe, middle-of-the-road airplay-targeted recording, included are two Top 40-ish vocal performances by Clint Holmes and Jeaneane Marie.
In short, this is the kind of instantly accessible crossover recording that generally attracts major record labels to jazz instrumentalists. For a more intimate and satisfying look at Eyermann's music, go hear him in a club.
TIM EYERMANN'S -- East Coast Offering, "Walkin' With You" (MCA 5589); appearing Friday and Saturday at Park Place Cafe.