Monday, February 10, 2014

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Trio review - NYC Jazz Record

The stories drummer Gerry Gibbs tells in the liner
notes for this new record paint the portrait of quite the
teenage jazz nerd. He clearly embraced the family
business (his father is vibraphonist Terry Gibbs),
playing air bass to Ron Carter’s ‘70s CTI albums and
pasting photos of pianist Kenny Barron on his wall.
Regardless of how that was viewed by his peers, it is
likely that none of them are shooting free throws with
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or strolling arm-in-arm with
Cybill Shepherd today. Gibbs, on the other hand, is
living his boyhood fantasies.

This trio recording is sort of a carbon copy of the
terrific “Tootie” Heath album released earlier this year,
Tootie’s Tempo. This time the bandleader is the young
gun and the swinging veterans are joining in. The
frequently entertaining results on both albums is a
strong argument for more intergenerational mingling.

After a pair of standards, Gibbs shows off his
writing with a solid homage to pianist McCoy Tyner
entitled “When I Dream”. Most of its power derives
from Gibbs’ clacking kit, especially when he injects a
fluttering dance groove behind his stoic bandmates.
Barron and Carter are game throughout, sharing a
driving bass figure before Carter takes a supple solo.
Barron tackles his contemporary Herbie Hancock with
blistering verve, “Eye of the Hurricane” burning with
that eye focused primarily on Barron’s lightning quick
right-hand lines while a straightahead take on Stevie
Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” makes for
an excellent soloing platform for the pianist. Gibbs
completes his fantasy by playing Barron’s composition
“Sunshower”, a tune that Barron and Carter
collaborated on when Gibbs was only 13 years old. The
bouncing Latin tune, complete with a feral cuĂ­ca,
provides another showcase for the pianist’s solo voice.

Gibbs’ excitement is palpable throughout and
deservedly so. He has enlisted two musicians with
whom any jazz drummer would love to engage. While
the standards are a pleasant enough listen, the real
magic comes through with the original tunes. Here’s
hoping for the next round, Gibbs writes the whole set.

Gerry Gibbs @ NYC Jazz Record

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