For all Pete McCann’s talent, he records infrequently as a leader. Most Folks is his first outing since You Remind Me of Someone in 2000. Not unlike his two previous discs for Palmetto, Most Folks consists of challenging, wide-ranging original material that draws on postbop and modern influences.
McCann’s main unit is a quartet with John O’Gallagher on alto and soprano saxes, John Hebert on bass and Mark Ferber on drums. The session opens in a loose harmonic environment, with the clean, fluid lines of the title track and the lilting “Jojo’s Waltz.” Then pianist Mike Holober joins for the burning “Rack ’Em Up” and the slow bolero “Las Tias,” two consecutive pieces that push McCann to opposite extremes—first biting distortion, then lush acoustic lyricism. Holober’s only other appearance is on the McLaughlin-inspired “JM,” a grittier turn recalling his stint with Gregg Bendian’s Mahavishnu Project. Other aggressive standouts include the free-blowing “About Face,” the 7/4 rocker “Yes, My Friend” and the hard-swinging “Split Decision.” But in stark contrast, the tone poem “Hunter Gatherer” features no solos. “Third Wheel” is a fine acoustic-guitar waltz, and “Worth” closes the disc in a reflective trio mode.