Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday
About a year after I moved to Hagerstown, I met Judy. Judy was from my ex husband's hometown and we quickly forged a bond, being Long Island girls. We both liked music A LOT. She'd discovered that one of the local restaurants, The New Park Circle, featured live jazz on some Wednesday nights. We made plans to go that Wednesday.
Both of us were blown away by the food, but by the musicians. We both liked Jazz, but wow, this group was incredible. The lead musician played at least seven or eight wind instruments over the evening. Mostly his own compositions, with a couple of standards thrown in.
The band? Tim Eyermann and East Coast Offering. We experienced what must occur in jazz cafes around the world in Hagerstown. Not exactly what you'd expect. I went to see my friends at the local music store and ordered a copy of Jazz on L, their most recent release. It got played to death.
One of the songs is titled Eight Miles, Five Minutes and is a tribute to a friend (Max Leake, IIRC) who drives very fast. I remember getting out the calculator to figure out the speed. Anyway, that first song has a great pace, one perfect for driving in I 270 traffic. The rest of the CD contained songs that I didn't want to skip over. That's rare, to have a disc that doesn't have a clunker (or a filler, as another friend put on his album!)
Judy and I made this Wednesday night gig a regular habit. Tim didn't always play, there were other artists, but boy, were we happy when we would find out that Tim, Andy, Dan and Bill were the featured artists. We grew to enjoy the New Park Circle so much that the ex and I would dine there fairly often, with or without Judy.
An aside about the restaurant: When the time came to pick a site for my wedding reception, we went to the owner of NPC to have it there. It certainly was convenient to the ceremony site, but they had a tradition of closing that particular holiday weekend.
Because of the intimate setting of the restaurant's bar, after two visits, Tim would greet us by name. How often does that happen when you see a group perform. His pianist, Dan Reynolds, told me to bring in my CD and the guys would all sign it for me. They did. When the next album came out, Outside/Inside, they offered to do the same, but I never got around to it.
It's not often that you form a personal connection to the artists you listen to. However, the vibe we got is that small and intimate venues were Tim's preferred way to play gigs. As enjoyable as seeing those shows were, a musician of this expertise could easily be on stage at any arena near you. Judy and I often thought it was such a waste that he wasn't getting the exposure of less capable musicians on the Jazz stations we listened to.
So, after listening to Jazz on L several times this week, I thought I'd scope out You Tube in the hopes of finding an artist you've never heard for this week. Unless you happened to catch one of his performances on the Tonight Show (with Johnny). One who is a joy to listen to over and over.
I found one song, Samba De Orpheo off his latest album, Karla's Fire. Cool, there's some Tim to add to the collection. My happiness quickly turned to sadness, though. Last May, Tim Eyermann died from complications of surgery for lung cancer.
RIP, Tim. It sucks that lung cancer took another person. Meanwhile, I'll listen to those two CDs and smile. Thanks for all the great shows and music.
**If you're a jazz fan and were looking for someone to check out, all three titles I mentioned are available on Amazon. Only Karla's Fire has samples, but the links above take you to CMT's samples of the two albums. Cool to note is that there's a Dan Reynold's composition on Outside/Inside and the featured segment is Dan playing piano.