Jason Tiemann

(Self Release)

After logging time with the likes of Benny Golson, Dave Liebman, Michael Dease and Mike LeDonne, drummer Jason Tiemann had amassed a wealth of experiences upon which to draw when formulating his debut album as a leader. He opted to explore the rich tradition of the jazz organ trio, enlisting guitarist Ed Cherry and Hammond B-3 whiz Kyle Koehler for the project.

The 11-song program on T-Man includes five of the drummer’s compositions, but he offers relatively few solos, preferring to let Cherry or Koehler take the spotlight. On the trio’s smoldering rendition of Ahmad Jamal’s “Night Mist Blues,” Cherry unfurls a flurry of lines that would make a Pat Martino fan smile, and Koehler flexes his muscles with a solo that packs an emotional wallop. The trio excels at all tempos, whether it’s surging through a high-octane burner like Tiemann’s original tune “Tizzle’s Blues” or slowing things down on a reading of J.J. Johnson’s “Lament,” which features the leader’s fine, subtle brushwork.

Tiemann—who currently teaches at the University of Hartford after spending 12 years as a faculty member at the University of Louisville—brings a deep sense of jazz history to T-Man, choosing to interpret Kenny Dorham’s “Lotus Blossom,” Jerome Richardson’s “Groove Merchant” and Osvaldo Farrés’ “Tres Palabras.” Tiemann’s arrangements help the listener connect the past to the present in a meaningful, consistently entertaining manner.