OWING TO ITS title, "Outside/Inside," some jazz fans might think the new album by Tim Eyermann and East Coast Offering contains tunes that weave in and out of the mainstream. Not so. Almost without interruption, the quartet serves up arrangements tailor-made for the contemporary jazz charts. The pieces may vary in tone and texture, but the intent is nearly always the same.
Eyermann has a genuine flair for this kind of thing, and by all rights he should be enjoying far more commercial success than a lot of his better-known and less-gifted peers. But with all the lite-jazz competition out there, much of it inspired by a sax-driven sound not unlike Eyermann's, it's hard to get excited about yet another album that basically follows suit.
The moods range from several melodic sax and flute features and a tepid remake of the Whitney Houston hit "You Give Good Love" (sweetened by background vocals) to the Latin-bop "Cherigo" and the Jr. Walker-inspired funkathon "Then I'll Talk." As always, the combination of Eyermann's talent and versatility allow for some colorful touches, notably on the bass flute arrangement of Mile Davis's "All Blues," and the rhythm section is alternately relaxed and tight when it needs to be. Yet listeners familiar with the competition (as well as Eyermann's own work) shouldn't be surprised if a dulling sense of deja vu occasionally overcomes them.
TIM EYERMANN AND EAST COAST OFFERING -- "Outside/Inside" (Bluemoon). Appearing Friday and Saturday at Club 219.