Peter O'Mara: My Time
Australian guitarist Peter O'Mara is a thirty year veteran of the German jazz scene, and given his association with Klaus Doldinger's Passport that spans two decades, I was curious what direction his solo album My Time (Marangani Records, 2012) would take.
By Alan Bryson
Tasteful restraint, a mellow after hours sound that represents an appealing alternative to smooth jazz. It's an album (four covers, six original titles) that works well as mood music, yet the interaction is energetic and intricate, and the solos are imaginative, melodic, and well conceived. After listening closely once, I had it on in the background while reading and repeatedly found myself pulled back in to listen closely to what O'Mara, Tim Collins (vibes), Henning Sieverts (contrabass), and Matthias Gmelin (drums) were putting down. As cut two, "Sizzle," demonstrates, these guys cook without being flashy.
Guitarist Peter O'Mara's is a soft, round tone that spreads across the jazz mainstream on My Time. This soft ambiance is further buffeted by Tim Collins' vibraphone as harmony instrument. Color is added via the careful cymbal craft of drummer Matthias Gmelin. Bassist Henning Sievert's roll is both tactile and implied, his soloing elegant.
O'Mara is respectful of the standards, as on his lengthy reading of "I Concentrate On You" and the dusky-toned "'Round Midnight." O'Mara's originals are as inventive as they are uncluttered by mean displays of blank virtuosity. O'Mara plays the notes necessary, avoiding a crowded and busy solo space. O'Mara's "Waltz for Vivian" is airy and refined, given ethereal life by Collins' bubbling vibes. My Time is a gentle survey of standards and originals that is readily listenable and enjoyable.
Peter O'Mara invites natural collaboration with his composing and playing, but it's nevertheless a tribute to his accompanists that they remain sufficiently assertive to maintain their own personalities as they contribute to O'Mara's work.
Vibraphonist Tim Collins, bassist Henning Sieverts and drummer Matthias Gmelin are of one mind as they play together with the guitarist within ensemble and solo passages, presenting a united front that solidifies the continuity of the music throughout the album's delicate but authoritative pacing.
Collins, in particular, adds to the air of mystery within My Time, but the shimmering tones of his vibes are only the most obvious textures that prove to be so inviting on first and repeated listenings. Difficult as it is to make music with equal parts sensitivity and panache, Peter O'Mara and company have done so here.