Joel Cummins

Common Sense

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Common Sense is the side project of Umphrey's McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins. He is accompanied on nearly all of the mostly improvised tracks by Umphrey's McGee guitarist Jake Cinninger, who happens to be playing drums on this release. Other members of the band -- Andy Farag, Mike Mirro -- turn in appearances as well. The music, obviously, is keyboard-driven and alternates between styles. Songs like "Intellivince" and "Last Dance With the Paranormal" integrate electronic elements into their grooves, while tunes like "Leave It Alone" and "Summer in Sheboygan" feel like more straight-ahead jazz numbers. For the most part, the music has a sparse, unfilled-out quality to it. In places, Cummins makes this work to his advantage, either by reveling in minimalist spaces or allowing for overdubs. In other places, the music very much has a demo quality to it, sounding like rough sketches that might eventually be brought to fruition by a fuller band. For a side-project disc, though (which usually tend toward the personal), there aren't too many locked-in idiosyncrasies. Cummins' inner world seems a right understandable one.

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