How versatile is Tim Eyermann? The Washington-bred jazz man didn't set out to answer that question on his latest release. But the album's diverse arrangements and instrumentation nevertheless illustrate the ease with which he adapts to different settings and grooves.
The opening tracks -- Michael Sutcher's "Just a Thought" and Eyermann's own "Karla's Fire" -- establish the album's contemporary jazz tone, first with a breezy, soprano sax-limned melody, then with some tightly coiled alto sax funk. After that, the arrival of a few special guests clearly inspires Eyermann. His soprano sax, deftly deployed, introduces and then underscores singer Mary Ann Redmond's typically soulful reading of Kenny Loggins's "Now and Then." Two of the album's indisputable highlights also find Eyermann collaborating with a kindred spirit -- guitarist Larry Coryell.
The first of these tunes, "Samba de Orpheo," boasts a particularly colorful and challenging arrangement, with Eyermann sustaining wind-swept lyricism on flute and Coryell demonstrating his sure-fingered command of the acoustic guitar over a hotbed of polyrhythmic percussion. "Manha de Carnival, the remaining Eyermann-Coryell pairing, is a duet that brings the album to a shimmering close with a warm and haunting coda.
But not before several talented area jazz musicians contribute to the album's considerable appeal. The fine cast includes keyboardists Fred Hughes and Jon Ozment, trombonist Rick Lillard, bassist Tom Williams and drummer Keith Killgo.
Appearing Wednesday at Blues Alley with East Coast Offering. To hear a free Sound Bite from Tim Eyermann, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8122. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)