Redeeming the Time
Just in case Tim Cummiskey is mistakenly described as an 'up and coming' jazz guitarist, let the level of playing revealed on this CD serve as living testimony that this artist has already 'arrived' The Tim Cummiskey Trio assembled for this project puts Tim in fine company, with Columbus legend Hank Marr on organ and drummer Jim Rupp, an alumnus of the Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, and Glenn Miller Orchesstras. While Tim Cummiskey has appeared on numerous recordings as a sideman, Redeeming The Time is his second recording as the leader. The guitar's place in the history of jazz has been both interesting and peculiar. Unlike woodwind and brass instruments that played a prominent role in the development of jazz styles in every major era, the guitar did not become a major jazz voice in the field until the jazz-rock or fusion manifestations of the late 1960s and 1970s. And although the guitar found relatively quick acceptance as a rhythm instrument, it was slower to develop as a solo vehicle. Thanks to Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian in the modern era and on through the pantheon of great guitarists in the postbop period from Wes Montgomery to your favorite at this time, the guitar has given notice and history informs us that the instrument is a voice in the genre of jazz that takes a back seat to no other instrument. Indeed the guitar's role-playing as both a comping and a solo instrument provides a unique opportunity for boundless creative expression. Upon listening to Tim Cummiskey's Redeeming The Time, one hears the work of a fertile mind that offers boundless creative expression. And I don't just mean heady, cerebral playing, but playing that comes from the heart, as well, with lots of musical sensitivity and imagination. Cummiskey's choice of tunes for this CD reveals his respect and love for the compositions of music masters like Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sam Jones, Hank Mobley, and Lee Morgan, along with Jimmy Van Huesen and Bronslau Kaper. Additionally he includes one of his own compositions and another cowritten with Hank Marr. Tim Cummiskey proves my adage that jazz music is really about rhythm. If you enjoy swing, you will marvel at the groove set down in Unit 7 or Invitation, two of my favorites. Cummiskey wastes no time in showing you that he has chops galore. While modern stylists since Charlie Parker typically have utilized the double-time figure in their improvisations, Cummiskey's use of double-time figures occurs at any point of the bar. At times they go over the bar, and often are grouped in four, but often appear in triplet, too. The beauty of Cummiskey's rhythms is that they come at you at a virtuosic machine-gun pace that makes you say wow! Sometimes the juxtapositioning of his rapid-fire rhythms create surprise and tension, but they get properly resolved, and besides, he can do all of this and still swing. Listen to the vamp ending of Black Nile, and see for yourself. If you like the blues, then check out Hank's Riff. Here Cummiskey understands the blues as primary language and reveals his affection for earthy, soulful playing. Of course, with Hank Marr on organ, there is plenty of groove and grease in this kitchen. When Leroi Jones (Amira Baraka) published his seminal work, Blues People, in 1963, he surely must have had Hank Marr in mind, and both Cummiskey and Rupp add their special ingredients to the mix. Other important aspects of this recording are the rich harmonic vocabulary and beautiful melodic renditions evidenced by Cummiskey in the more relaxed tunes of this session. All guitarists and pianists love Jobim for his beautiful and exquisite harmonies and melodies. Cummiskey's choice of How Insensitive discloses some of his most sensitive playing. The gentle side of Cummiskey comes through in Jobim's pretty, Latin-flavored tune that provides a wonderful template for yet another beautiful and creative ride from Cummiskey. The ballad Darn That Dream, Bill Evan's Time Remembered, along with Cummiskey's own Fever Dream provide us with more tenderness and introspection. Improvisation is the hallmark and defining essence of creativity in the jazz tradition. Whether listening to Inner Urge or This I Dig Of You, or any of the ten tunes featured on Redeeming The Time, one will be impressed with the improvising prowess of Tim Cummiskey. Sit back, relax and enjoy, and redeem your time listening to the artistry of Tim Cummiskey, jazz guitarist. Dr. Ted McDaniel Columbus, Ohio May 5, 2003.