CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]


South Beat

tommccormick (self produced)



  1. South Beat

  2. Iridescence

  3. Mantra

  4. User Friendly

  5. Naima

  6. Barbara

  7. My Foolish Heart

  8. Blue Cha

  9. Feel The Spirit

  10. Alone Together

    Tom McCormick - Tenor sax, soprano sax, flute

    Doug Michels - Trumpet, flugelhorn

    John Kricker - Trombone

    Pete Wallace - Piano

    Nicky Orta - Electric bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 8, 10)

    Eric England - Acoustic bass, electric bass

    Carlomagno Araya - Drums, percussion (tracks 1, 2, 4, 8, 10)

    David Chiverton - Drums (tracks 3, 5-7, 9)

    Edwin Bonilla - Congas, bongos

    Humberto Ibarra - Guiro

    Guest Artists:

    Jonathan Kreisberg - Guitar (track 3)

    Leo Quintero - Guitar (track 9)

    John Lovell - Trumpet, flugelhorn solos (tracks 1, 2, 6, 8, 10)

    Tom McCormick wears many hats, apart from the stylish one on his head on the cover of this, his first CD as a leader. A saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger, he is also an experienced jazz educator (he is currently saxophone professor at Miami Dade College in Florida). Baltimore-born, he has made his mark across a range of musical genres, including jazz, pop, Latin and classical. His CV is a wonder to behold. It is possible, then, to approach this disc with keen anticipation. The listener will not be disappointed. The title of the album, it appears, is an oblique reference to South Beach in Miami, a meeting place for different cultures and backgrounds in the same way as the music here offers a blend of different influences. There are six tracks composed by McCormick, two others are standards and two further offerings are from the pens of jazz greats John Coltrane and Horace Silver respectively.

    Among the highlights to be found on this recording are Mantra, User Friendly, My Foolish Heart and Alone Together. Tom is on soprano sax for Mantra, one of his own compositions. His lyrical performance, taken with Jonathan Kreisberg's contribution on guitar, a model of melodic invention, and Eric England's work on bass, help to make this one to savour. User Friendly is a tight, cohesive piece, again written by McCormick, where relaxed tenor playing and expressive piano in particular create a number with more than a hint of Brazil. My Foolish Heart, meanwhile, is meltingly good. The musicians, led by the sumptuous tenor sound of McCormick, treat this lovely, if well-worn, ballad with tenderness and charm. The standard, Alone Together,

    provides yet another example of familiar material given a fresh interpretation. Tenor sax, trumpet, piano and percussion all unite successfully. The other tracks all have something to commend them, too. Take Blue Cha, for instance. As the title suggests, it has a cha-cha-cha (Latin) rhythm and sounds as if it would make the title music for a TV series. McCormick is on flute on this occasion, John Lovell on flugelhorn and the exemplary Nicky Orta on electric bass.

    It seems invidious to pick out specific musicians or even tracks on such a well-rounded and collaborative effort. Tom McCormick has expressed the spirit which animates this disc concisely, when he writes “ Jazz is a team sport ; it is the real time, live interplay between players that creates the real magic”. There's plenty of that here.

    So, listen and enjoy!

    James Poore

Return to Index

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: