Gerry Gibbs, Ron Carter, Kenny Barron
“Thrasher Dream Trio”
Publicity: Article with Santa Barbra Independent, Beverly Citizen, The New York City Jazz Record, Jazzdagama.com All About Jazz, DOWNBEAT(see below), eJazzNews, Gene Seymour’s Top Ten Jazz Discs for 2013, DAN BILAWSKY, All About Jazz, The Celebrity Cafe, mwe3.com, JazzTimes, Jazz Inside, Audiophile Audition, Jack Bowers/allaboutjazz.com, southcoasttoday.com, Ken Franckling’s Jazz Notes, RSSPump, iiV7 Jazz Studios, Jazz Society of Oregon, BGmusicnews Blog, medical-answers.org, Energy only the news,Top-40-charts.com, PR Web, Something Else! Music Reviews, Jazzquad, allaboutjazz, New England Entertainment Digest, prlog, Midwest Record Review, jazztruth,
Pending: MODERN DRUMMER, STEREOPHILE
Radio Promotion: Currently #10 on JazzWeek, total six weeks at #1 Neal Sapper/Matt Hughes (New World N Jazz Marketing, Promotion and Consulting), Tracking Report, Radio one-sheet, JAZZ.FM91 – Canada’s Premier Jazz Station, Mixed Media’s radio tracking
Retail: BestBuy, eBay, iTunes, HBDirect.com, Amazon, Zia Record Exchange
Promo Photos: Hi-res image #1 #2 #3 #4, Gerry’s Photo Gallery
CDs: Whaling City Sound, distributed by NAXOS of America
Mixed Media Client since: 2002
Listen: Song Clips
MUSIC SCENE: Jazz is alive and well, with hot talent
By Jay Miller
For The Patriot Ledger
Posted Dec. 26, 2014 @ 6:30 am
Updated Dec 26, 2014 at 7:56 AM
We like to do an annual roundup of the year’s best jazz albums, which, as we note in the best albums column, is purely a reflection of our personal taste and the music we get to hear–we do not get everything.
But there is plenty of fresh new jazz out there, even if typical music fans might find it hard to track down. Your typical big box store, if it still has a CD section at all, probably features a handful of jazz selections, most of them from catalog items from long gone artists. We like John Coltrane and Miles Davis as much as the next jazz fan, but most of their work is five decades old by now. Meanwhile there are dozens of inventive contemporary musicians composing and performing inventive new sounds.
Whaling City Sound has quietly been building a sterling reputation in jazz circles, with more and more listeners discovering the label based in Dartmouth, Mass. Whaling City has also been expanding its roster, and this year at least three of the year’s most compelling works came from that hometown label.
– See more at: http://beverly.wickedlocal.com/article/20141226/ENTERTAINMENT/312279998/12434/ENTERTAINMENT#sthash.003Yt9vk.dpuf
Whaling City Sound’s Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio is now Grammy nominated !
“The Eye of The Hurricane” by soloist Kenny Barron is nominated for Best Improvised Solo!
The New York Jazz Record | February 2014
Click on the link above to read an article by Sean O’Connell discussing Gerry Gibbs and the Thrasher Dream Trio.
Whaling City Sound was well received at the Jazz Connect Conference in NYC on 1/9&10. Gerry Gibbs was in the audience at the radio panel and was acknowledged for the success of Thrasher Dream Trio which is now back to #1 on JazzWeek with a total of FOUR weeks at #1!!
• Join us 2/6-9: GERRY GIBBS ALL STAR THRASHER BIG BAND LIVE, Dizzy’s/Lincoln Center NYC
4 nights (Feb 6, 7, 8, 9 >>Mixed Media will be at the Saturday Feb 8 show)
It’s a tribute to his father’s 6 time Grammy nominated Terry Gibbs Dream Band
playing music of both father & son.
GERRY GIBBS All-Star Thrasher Big band
NICHOLAS PAYTON, TOM HARRELL, PAQUITO D’RIVERA and ERIC ALEXANDER
SAXOPHONES: MARK GROSS, VINCENT HERRING, ERIC ALEXANDER, VICTOR GOINES, GARY SMULYAN, TIVON PENNICOTT (THUR ONLY)
TROMBONES: ROBIN EUBANKS, CONRAD HERWIG, STEVE DAVIS
TRUMPETS: FRANK GREEN, MARVIN STAMM, LEW SOLOFF, JOE MAGNARELLI
RHYTHM SECTION: GERALD CANNON, DONALD VEGA & GERRY GIBBS
• Gerry will also be at SMALLS FEB 24 with a new project of his…names to be announced.
• Mr. Gibbs will be recording new music this year including
Thrasher Dream Trio will record a second CD featuring Ron Carter, Kenny Barron and have Roy Ayers as guest
Review: By – Ken Micallef February 2014
WCS 065 – Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio
Gerry Gibbs – Ron Carter – Kenny Baron
Drummer and composer Gerry Gibbs is the son of vibraphone kingpin Terry Gibbs. The younger percussionist has already amassed a total of seven albums, three on the prolific Whaling City Sound label.
For his latest release, Gibbs took on a challenge not for the faint of heart. Hiring bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron for his Thrasher Dream Trio, Gibbs swings and solos with the two masters like he’s voting for his own Jazz Hall of Fame induction. Gibbs whips up an incessant storm, from his flag waving “When I Dream” to the Tony Williams/V.S.O.P. torture test “The Eye of the Hurricane.”
But it’s not only Gibbs’ drumming that wows(“Mr. Clean” is a highlight). The sheer organizational skills required to expertly arrange 15 songs of such diversity-and present them to two of the most important jazz musicians of the past 75 years-is also impressive.(Carter and Barron contribute a song a piece). Gibb’s energy occasionally boils over as on a nail-biting “Epistrophy,” it’s nervous tempo making Carter and Barron sound as if they are swinging in the back of a VW Beetle.
But Gibbs’ flavorful brushwork fires “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” and “Here Comes Ron.” And the trio gels beautifully on Gibbs’ “The Thrasher” and Coltrane’s “Impressions,” Barron and Carter dancing rhythms and regulating melodic currents with magical grace. A major plus is the sound of the recording. The album documents two important masters and an energetic upstart with a rich, clear production aesthetic.
Whaling City Sound CD, Thrasher Dream Trio #1 JazzWeek, #18 CMJ Jazz Chart
New Bedford’s Whaling City Sound label has a lot to celebrate!
Our most recent CD, Gerry Gibbs’ “Thrasher Dream Trio,” with Ron Carter and Kenny Barron, is one of the most-played CDs on radio in the country at the moment, climbing to #2 on the Jazz Week chart.
With a review in JazzTimes Magazine next month, Jazziz January or February, and another in DownBeat Magazine in February, Gibbs tops it off with a NYC/Lincoln Center show!
February 6-9, 2014
Set Times 7:30pm & 9:30 pm Plus 11:30pm, Fri
Late Night Session Sets
Tue–Sat, after last Artist Set
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola | Jazz at Lincoln Center
Broadway and 60th Street New York, NY 10019
Box Office Hours Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 12pm-6pm
The week of February 6th through the 9th is a great weekend for jazz fans to hear some of the greatest talents around from the All Star Thrasher Big Band (players to be announced). “I will be doing a tribute to my father Terry Gibbs Dream Band and just wanted to throw it out there.”
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For Release: October 29, 2013
from Whaling City Sound, New Bedford, MA
Distribution: NAXOS of America Inc.
Reply for Digital Download on SoundCloud/Dropbox
A DREAM COME TRUE …
Whaling City Sound fulfills a long-awaited dream with its 10/29 release,
Thrasher Dream Trio, starring Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, and bandleader/drummer Gerry Gibbs.
Since 1999, New Bedford’s Whaling City Sound has been building an archive of great jazz recordings, with a roster of august artists that includes John Abercrombie, John Stein, Joe Beck, Dave Liebman and many more. Seemingly each year, at a time when economic forces have put a real squeeze on the music industry, and jazz in general, the tiny label that could has elevated its audio game. Since setting up shop, it has ushered quality recordings into the jazz audiosphere one after another. One disc jockey commented, “When I see a Whaling City Sound package come into the studio, I open the envelope and put it right on the air.” Bob Blumenthal, esteemed jazz writer for many moons now, often supports Whaling City Sound projects, as a liner-note writer and loyal fan. Regarding Thrasher Dream Trio, he writes: Anyone who has concerns regarding the health of jazz, the ongoing relevance of its living legends or the artistry of those they have inspired needs to hear this album.” High praise indeed for WCS’s musical integrity.
Thrasher Dream Trio is an important release for WCS’s new distributor, Naxos, a significant new alliance following the dissolution of its recent relationship with Allegro. “When one door closes,” says Neal Weiss, president of WCS, “another door opens. We really respected our work with Allegro, but we are even more hopeful with Naxos, which also does amazing work.”
To celebrate, WCS is giving its most celebrated work to date to Naxos. While, occasionally, high profile projects like this one fail to live up to the possibilities, this one obviously doesn’t; it bristles with energy, color and imagination. Barron and Carter, the giant piano/bass team, certainly need no introduction, but a note must be made about their collaboration here. Their history working together is one of the intangibles that makes this project so interesting.
“We are so fortunate to release this recording through our label,” says Weiss, “especially an album like this that features these awesome musicians, and one that comes at such an important time in the label’s history. We’ll do everything we can to ensure the music gets into the right hands, because I think we can all agree, jazz this good deserves to be heard.”
And, we might add, fulfills a dream come true for Whaling City Sound.
Also check out: Raising the Roof by John Stein, which finished #8 for the year on the JazzWeek chart in 2010, climbing as high as #2. Also available on Whaling City Sound is Gerry Gibbs’ Thrasher Big Band Live At Luna (wcs033) Gerry Gibbs’ Electric Thrasher Orchestra Plays The Music Of Miles Davis 1967-1975 (wcs047).
And stay tuned for Joe Beck’s final recording. Beck, who played with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, and James Brown, to name a few, was a Whaling City Sound flagship artist before passing away in 2008.
Thanks, Chris Spector!
MIDWEST RECORD REVIEW: WHALING CITY SOUND
GERRY GIBBS THRASHER DREAM TRIO: It’s really something to be a youngish drummer playing along side Kenny Barron and Ron Carter and sound like an equal instead of a weak link. With a colorful, diverse set list that let’s everyone play to their strengths throughout, this is high octane killer jazz trio work. Impeccably in the pocket throughout, this drummer who has been lurking in the background for too long is really making his move here. It’s the kind of killer stuff real jazzbo listeners crave from real jazzbo players and know how to get right out of the box. Hot!
whaling city sound
Anyone who has concerns regarding the health of jazz, the ongoing relevance of its living legends or the artistry of those they have inspired needs to hear this album. It is a vibrant recital in a classic ensemble configuration, not to mention a classic in its own right.
This is hardly an inevitable result when veterans and their juniors connect. Those who have amassed laurels sometimes rest on them, while younger players can be overwhelmed by “I am not worthy” awe. Here, Kenny Barron and Ron Carter apply the creativity and passion that have made them beacons of excellence for a half-century, while Gerry Gibbs grasps the leadership reins without hesitation, displaying not an ounce of reluctance in the presence of artists whom he readily acknowledges as “two of the greatest musicians of all time.” Gibbs chose not to create a concept album, or merely pay tribute to his partners’ past glories, but focused instead on “music I wanted to play with Kenny and Ron.”
Four of the tracks are Gibbs originals, and hearing them interpreted by his two partners here should cast deserved attention on the drummer’s compositional skills. All four are musical portraits, and in the cases of McCoy Tyner (“When I Dream”), Carter (“Here Comes Ron”) and Don Pullen (“The Thrasher”) evoke the spirit of their subjects without resorting to direct quotation. No doubt we get an equally telling sense of Gibbs’ wife Kyeshie through “The Woman on the Television Screen,” a haunting ballad that Barron and Carter interpret without ever losing the lyrical focus.
Gibbs also has a knack for transforming familiar material through imaginative arrangements. “The Shadow of Your Smile,” which tends to be cast in Latin trappings, in a finger-popping swinger here, while the usual velocity of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” shifts into a glide and the often-funky “Mr. Clean” becomes an end-of-disc flag-waver. The too-seldom heard “Promises, Promises” and Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” are inspired choices that elicit some of Barron’s most intense playing. It is also a rare treat to hear the pianist interpret two compositions by one of his contemporaries, Herbie Hancock.
Three other tracks are direct expressions of Gibbs’ love for his partners” musical history. “A Feeling,” recorded by Carter in 1973 on a quartet session that featured Joe Henderson and unjustly neglected in the ensuing four decades, is a challenging blues-like form that allows the drummer to fulfill a lifelong
ambition to play a solo with Carter in accompaniment. The opening “Epistrophy” employs the Carter arrangement first heard in a 1976 recording with Barron and Ben Riley. This one gave Gibbs the chance to fill another coveted role, accompanying a Carter walking bass solo. And while Barron has recorded “Sunshower” on several occasions, including as part of Carter’s “Piccolo” quartet, this is his first trio reading of the piece.
Not much need be said regarding the work of Barron and Carter throughout. They have worked together frequently in the past, often under Carter’s leadership or in cooperative ensembles such as the Classical Jazz Quintet, and once again their collaboration is anything but routine. Hearing musicians with so much history continue to inspire each other is a testament to both their individual brilliance and that of the music to which they have dedicated their lives.
Gibbs deserves equal praise for rising to the challenge. He was not content to play what other great drummers have played when in this august company, or to allow his partners’ pasts to limit his horizons. Instead, he challenged Barron and Carter by presenting them with new music and new takes on old music, while paying respects to aspects of their history that have inspired him. The evidence suggests that Barron and Carter embraced the challenge, as did Gibbs, who describes the session as “nothing but positive reinforcement from the first moment we started playing” and “a lifelong dream fulfilled.”
Above all, Thrasher Dream Trio confirms that Gibbs deserves a place among that charmed circle of drummers who can write, lead, support, and excel in a variety of musical settings. Those who know his earlier work, and particularly his two previous Whaling City releases, may consider this old news; but for others, you need to hang with the giants to get the point across. Gibbs could not have partnered with a more monumental piano/bass team, and the experience has left him standing pretty tall himself.
Renowned jazz writer Bob Blumenthal has been writing about the jazz scene since his college days in 1969.
TRACKS & CREDITS
Gerry Gibbs plays Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks & Brushes
Gerry’s set is made up of drums given to him by Buddy Rich and also one of Elvin Jones’ classic 1960’s floor toms Gerry plays a 1933 Slingerland Radio King Snare Drum
Gerry’s drums modified by Stan Keyawa at the Pro Drum Shop, Hollywood, CA
Gerry plays a 1930’s K Zildjian cymbal from Tony Williams in the 1960’s given to him by Jim Keltner
Gerry plays a 1950’s A Zildjian cymbal that belonged to Billy Higgins
- Epistrophy (T. Monk-K. Clarke) Embassy Music Corp., BMI, Music Sales Corp., ASCAP 4:39
- Promises, Promises (Hal David, Burt Bacharach) Casa David Music, New Hidden Valley Music, ASCAP 4:26
- When I Dream for McCoy Tyner (Gerry Gibbs) Vibes Music, ASCAP 8:52
- The Shadow of Your Smile (Johnny Mandel, Paul Francis Webster) Miller Music, ASCAP 4:33
- The Woman on the TV Screen for my wife Kyeshie (Gerry Gibbs) Vibes Music, ASCAP 6:00
- The Eye of the Hurricane (Herbie Hancock) Hancock Music Co., BMI 3:29
- Tell Me a Bedtime Story (Herbie Hancock) Hancock Music Co., BMI 5:06
- A Feeling (Ron Carter) Retrac Productions, BMI 4:07
- Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing (Stevie Wonder) Hal Leonard Pub. Corp., ASCAP 5:57
- Sunshower (Kenny Barron) Wazuri Music, BMI 5:50
- Hear Comes Ron for Ron Carter (Gerry Gibbs) Vibes Music, ASCAP 3:48
- Impressions (John Coltrane) Jowcol Music, BMI 4:57
- The Thrasher for Don Pullen (Gerry Gibbs) Vibes Music, ASCAP 5:56
- Mr. Clean (Weldon Irvine) Nodlew Music, BMI 6:24
- The Theme Beat Box Version (Miles Davis) Jazz Horn Music and Second Floor Music, BMI 0:35
All music arranged by Gerry Gibbs, except “Epistrophy” and “A Feeling,” arranged by Ron Carter
Also available on Whaling City Sound – Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Big Band “Live At Luna” (wcs033) Gerry Gibbs Electric Thrasher Orchestra “Plays The Music Of Miles Davis 1967-1975” (wcs047)
For booking information, contact:
Gerry Gibbs via email at email@example.com, or via phone at 818-795-1646 or contact Meghan Stabile at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recorded by Joe Marciano at Systems Two Recording Studio, Brooklyn, NY, on December 26 & 27, 2012, February 1, 2013 Mixed by Joe & Mike Marciano
Production Assistant: Max Ross
Produced by Gerry Gibbs for Thrasher Productions
Executive Producer: Neal Weiss
CD Design and all photographs by David Arruda Jr, except booklet page 4 photo by Jonah Jonathan
|THANKS TO:… Ron and Kenny for spending so much time with my music and being so supportive beyond the call of duty. Thanks for all the laughs and most importantly, music on the highest level possible. To have worked on this project with two of the greatest improvisors to ever play music, has been an experience never to be duplicated again — unless there’s a Thrasher Dream Trio CD #2 one day…. those people who shared this dream with me going back as far as my teenage years – Rich Cohen Geralski, Chris Guardino, Jordan Zimmerman, Taj Naeem, John Lewis, Nick Manson, Serge Kasimoff, Mike Hoffmann, Pastor Scott Craig, Sid Lasaine, Scott Colley, Paula Sullivan, Lawri Moore, Chuck Glave, Essiet Okon Essiet and Mike Rogers.|
… my whole family, Rebeckah, Jerra and Kelly but special thanks to my Pops, Terry Gibbs. He bought me the majority of all the Ron Carter and Kenny Barron records I owned from ages 13-18, which was well over 100 recordings combined. Love you Pops.
… my amazing wife Kyeshie. She taped over one hundred pages of music together. Helped me pack all my drums and percussion in the car and not only helped me bring it into the studio but helped set them up. She basically took care of everything, so all I had to do was play the drums. Love you. xo
… my longtime brothers Raphael D’Lugoff, Adrian Ruiz and Mike McGinnis for spending hours putting all my music on the computer for this recording.
… Raphael D’lugoff and Mike Ekroth for proof reading and playing through all my music before our first rehearsal.
… Geri Allen for your chats before I recorded this CD & to Pops, Billy Childs, Rich Cohen, Jordan Zimmerman, Raphael D’Lugoff and Jonah Jonathon for your support and for calling me on all three nights to see how things were going with the recording.
… Neal Weiss of Whaling City Sound, for making a dream of 37 years come true. Thanks to Dave Arruda, Ginny Shea and the rest of the WCS family. Thank you to Nancy, Joe and Mike Marciano at Systems Two. Special thanks to Max Ross.
I dedicate this music to three of my closest brothers, friends and great drummers – Freddie Gruber (friends for 49 yrs), Kenny Mastelli and Bobby Natanson (friends for 26 years each) who all passed away within two years. This dream was something we shared together hundreds of times. Even though the three of you couldn’t be there during the recording, your inspiration was with me every moment.
Gerry Gibbs’ Thrasher dream Trio with the legendary Ron Carter and grand Kenny Barron is a musical feast and artistic masterpiece. Don’t miss it!
— Dr. Cornel West
It comes as no surprise that Gibbs, with his pedigree and experience supporting a host of legendary bandleaders, would prove to be so consistently fresh and compelling in his latest recording.
— Ashley Kahn (Author of A Love Supreme)
Gerry Gibbs triumphs with a great musical CD. The pairing of legends Ron Carter and Kenny Barron along with Gibbs indeed make a dream trio. With new and interesting arrangements on a few popular tunes and standards, the playing is inventive and impeccable. A true gem.
— Lenny White
Gerry is so high energy! I love his passion for the music. Put that together with the giants he chooses to play with on this record and its a winning combination. A real treat to hear him on this set — up where the air is rare! — Jim Keltner
Exquisite is the word that comes to mind when I hear the music of these three artists. From the sophisticated interplay between the three… Ron’s deep bottom and telepathy like responses… Gerry’s expansive rhythms floating and propelling… Kenny’s lovely touch… Their art is the beauty that is a trio.
— Wallace Roney
I love Gerry Gibbs’ new CD “Thrasher Dream Trio”. Gerry pays respect to the art of the trio in a very personal clever and original way. His playing and writing are wonderful, and the addition of two of the greatest musicians in the world makes for a truly exciting project.
— Robert Hurst
This is some of the hardest swingin’ music I have heard in a while. This is a great trio. Gerry is one of my favorite jazz musicians who brings plenty of fire, soul, imagination and swings with a deep feel like the masters that I grew up listening to, while adding a fresh modern twist. Best CD I have heard in a long time. Thank you Gerry!
— Mike Clark
In our business, especially with the multi-percussionist, the unsung heros can be overlooked. Being discovered is in the company you keep. Certainly, this is such an occurrence with master, musician, drummer, Gerry Gibbs. This is a great recording!
— Billy Hart
notes by Gerry Gibbs
This is a fantastic CD! — Larry Coryell
THE STORY BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THIS RECORDING WAS MADE
I’ve met a new rhythm section partner in Gerry Gibbs, and I look forward to joining him again in making music. Given all of the work that it took, he did a fantastic job in putting it all together.
— Ron Carter
It was a thrill and a challenge to make this recording with Gerry. As a composer and arranger, he definitely keeps you on your toes. As a player, he’s exciting, fiery and creative. I mentioned to Gerry that I spent quite a few sleepless nights while practicing the music, but it was well worth it. — Kenny Barron
Gerry’s arrangement of Burt Bacharach’s “Promises, Promises” made a jazz standard of that song. Gerry also came up with a unique version of my tune “The Shadow Of Your Smile.” I have never had the pleasure of hearing it performed that way, and may never again. The ultimate treat for me though, was a song of Gerry’s entitled “The Woman on the TV Screen,” written for his wife Kyeshie. It is a piece of extreme beauty. I really enjoyed this album.
— Johnny Mandel
Some of the best musical innovations I’ve heard in quite some time. With artists like Ron Carter, Kenny Baron and Gerry Gibbs, one cannot go wrong. The groove is tight, the arrangements are right. This CD should be in everyone’s collection.
— Roy Ayers
The jazz piano trio has always been the most definitive expression of jazz. I believe that. Nat Cole, George Shearing, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Martin, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Bud Powell are a few of the piano greats whose trio recordings inspired many generations of music lovers. Gerry Gibbs, Ron Carter and Kenny Barron have created a very big contribution that will take it’s place in the Jazz Piano Hall of Fame. Thanks all of you! Thank you for the hours of listening and healing pleasure that we all are sure to enjoy!
— Joe Sample
You know there is something special about trio performances especially when you get a group of musicians who are tuned into one another. This album represents that quality of simpatico, it’s obvious they’re listening to each other. Besides the level of musicianship being high, the arrangements are fresh and unexpected. My hat’s off to you gentlemen – Well Done!
— George Duke
I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Gerry in a number of situations. To my ears, he is one of the most talented jazz drummers on the scene right now. But what really knocks me out the most about him is his brilliance as a composer/arranger/bandleader. His vision is truly unique and one of the most interesting voices out there. He is in great company on this CD with Ron and Kenny, and the music they create together. With Gerry at the helm, it is beautiful. This CD is a must have.
— Billy Childs
The piano that Kenny Barron used for this recording is noteable and worthy of mention. Steinway 385, a 9-foot Model D ebony concert grand, is the “house piano” at Systems Two Recording Studio in Brooklyn, NY, where this CD was recorded. But back in 1985, “385” served in a prestigious position as the house piano at New York’s Carnegie Hall. As part of the backup orchestra used for Frank Sinatra’s nine appearances that year, the piano has also been requested and played by pianists Alfred Brendel, Shura Cherkassky, Daniel Barenboim, Peter Nero, Rudolf Serkin, Bella Davidovich, Ivan Moravec and Jeffrey Siegel, among others, for their Carnegie Hall appearances. “It’s right up there at the top…” claims jazz pianist Peter Nero, adding that “…you learn to judge a piano’s quality pretty quickly when you perform 126 concerts a year.”
I heard Ron Carter for the first time in 1974, when I was ten years old. About a year later in 1975, I heard Kenny Barron for the first time. My Father, legendary jazz vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, was a partner in a local music store in Canoga Park, California, called The Music Stop. Right next door was a used record store called Pal Records. My Pops would frequently let me pick out a record of my choice and then he would pick out something that he thought I should hear. One day, I saw a CTI Records sampler with ten different artists, all unknown to me. Each artist had three to four two-minute excerpted selections from different recordings on the CTI label. I remember it was 25¢ (because I still have that same copy today, thirty-nine years later) and asked him if I could get that one too. I did not know any of the artists, but wanted it. Because it was only a quarter, I figured I could talk him into adding another LP to the list that day. When I got home, I put it on and the first thing I heard was a Ron Carter track called “A Feeling” which is recorded on this CD and which Ron has not recorded since that 1973 release. The sound of Ron’s bass, so clear in the mix, his walking feel, the notes he played and his sliding around the strings was something this ten-year old had never heard before, and without a doubt was the most exciting and emotional thing I had heard in music since I got my first Buddy Rich record at age five.
In 1976, the tradition at our house at Christmas was for me to pick out twenty-five records of my choice and my Pops would buy them, as well as pick out a few more of his choosing, wrap them up and I would open them on Christmas day, as if I didn’t know what they were. About 80% of the recordings I received that Christmas had Ron Carter on bass, including eight of his solo recordings.
One of those recordings was an LP called “Red and Yellow,” recorded earlier that year in 1976. One track featured a pianist that my Pops had talked about before named Kenny Barron. On this recording, they played a Ron Carter arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy,” which is as on this CD, and also has never been issued since that 1976 release. To this day, both “Epistrophy” and “A Feeling” from those two Ron Carter LPs have always been two of my favorite recordings of all time. To re-record those tracks from those Ron Carter mid-1970’s recordings, after playing along with them on my record player in my room as a child, was a dream that finally came true thirty-seven years later.
By the time I was thirteen years old, all my little friends’ heroes were people like Hank Aaron or Kareem Abdul Jabbar. As good as I was at playing sports, my hero was Ron Carter. In 7th grade, I actually used the name Ron Carter next to my picture in my 7th grade yearbook, and wrote his name on all my schoolbooks, instead of my own.
My father tells a story that goes like this… “When Gerry was just a kid and was getting into jazz, and even though he played the drums, he loved the bass – especially Ron Carter. Without Gerry ever knowing, I would look through our guest house where he had all his recording equipment set up. I would catch him looking into the mirror while one of Ron Carter’s records played. He would make-believe he was playing the bass, even though he had nothing in his hands. He looked like he was having a spazz, like a contortionist, moving from side to side, up and down, pretending that he had a bass in his hands.”
In 1977, to make some money, I cleaned a crazy old lady’s yard for hours, cleaning up weeks of dog droppings from four different dogs, just to get the $10 needed to purchase the new Ron Carter LP “Piccolo,” a double LP recorded live at the now defunct “Sweet Basils” in NYC. Ron played a smaller version of the bass called a Piccolo Bass. It was used as a solo instrument, leaving the walking bass duties to Buster Williams, with Ben Riley playing drums and Kenny Barron on piano. By now, I was also becoming obsessed with Kenny, putting his pictures from records and magazines up on my wall just like a kid does with sports stars.
For many months, I didn’t listen to anything but that double record, especially the Kenny Barron composition “Sunshower.” For my whole adult life, I have always hummed this melody during walks on the street, in subways, cars, planes… A year later, in 1978, Kenny re-recorded “Sunshower” on his “Innocence” LP. Again, on this new recording of mine, I had the opportunity to live a dream and record a composition that I grew up listening to thousands of times, with the original members thirty-five years later.
By the time I was fourteen, I owned every one of Ron’s and Kenny’s recordings as a leader, and many recordings with each as a sideman as I could find. I had tons of pictures of Ron and Kenny on my bedroom walls, along with McCoy Tyner and a few others. At that same time (in 1978) I finally got to see Ron play live as a member of the Milestone Jazzstars, an all-star group touring with McCoy Tyner (who by then, had also become one of the biggest influences in my life), Sonny Rollins and Al Foster. As a fourteen year old, this was the greatest memory of them all. My buddy and I waited for Ron to come outside from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to get an autograph. When he came out, he was putting his bass into the back of a station wagon and I asked him if I could have the airline ID card attached to his bass case and if he would sign it. After he removed and signed it, he gave me a
GERRY GIBBS RON CARTER
kiss on the cheek and said to “Give that to your Pops…” I WAS IN HEAVEN and didn’t wash that side of my face for a couple of days. A moment I never forgot!
Fast-forward almost 35 years later — Neal Weiss (of Whaling City Sound) and I were chatting on the phone one day about doing a third recording on his label. I had previously released two CDs of my own music on WCS, the first being my 18-piece Thrasher Big Band that I composed all the music for, and a two-CD set of the music of Miles Davis, from the period of 1967 to 1975. Neal and I discussed a “fantasy dream record” involving Ron and Kenny, that I had dreamt about doing since 1975. Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think this would be my next CD. To record in a trio setting, and do what only very few drummers have done – recording with them, is a “fantasy dream,” that musicians all over the world could only imagine in their wildest dreams. Immediately, Neal said “Look into it and get back to me.” I spoke to both Ron and Kenny about my ideas and gave them both a CD of my original music, and within a week, got the green light from both of them to get things rolling. I called Neal, and as he has done in the years I have recorded for him, he took care of everything on his end immediately. A week later, I had arranged a time when Ron and Kenny were available. It was frustrating to wait four months for all three of us to be available at the same time, but the three dates were set, and I was already prepared to go.
This is my eighth recording as a leader, and as with all my other records, I conceptualize the record and gather material within an hour, then put all the music together in a day and just wait for the time to start recording. With a “Dream Trio” like this, it was possible to record Bebop or Avante Garde, or Fusion, or any other music I would want to record. This record could have sounded 10 different ways, so I sat on my couch and sang a whole record with everything I wanted to do into my digital recorder, and then contacted three longtime musicians/brothers to put my old and new compositions and arrangements on the computer so that I could have the music ready that week to send to Ron and Kenny, even though we were 4 months away from recording.
Finally, the time came to wake up from dreaming and actually live the dream. We did one rehearsal, then three days of recording at Systems Two Recording Studio in Brooklyn, NY. Neal and Dave Arruda (WCS’s photographer/designer) drove down from Boston. My wife Kyeshie and my three friends Tiffany Ente, Efacho Okeke as well as my friend Jonah Jonathan (who also took pictures of the recordings) came down to witness the recording you now have in your hands. With Ron and Kenny, add three
great engineers and a dream came true for me. The three days were amazing. Ron had me laughing over so many fun stories. I also made a few videos on my phone where Ron, Kenny and I said silly things to crack each other up. The greatest feeling was to receive five kisses (my wife kept track) on the cheek from Ron (as approval of different takes we were recording). Kenny and Ron are known to those that have had the rare opportunity to record or play with them, for their professionalism and work ethic. To have them give so much of their time in every aspect of this project was something I will never forget.
During the actual recording of “Epistrophy,” “A Feeling” and “Sunshower,” I closed my eyes and saw the vision of a young 12-year old boy in his bedroom after school playing along with his old Ron Carter and Kenny Barron classics, and remembered myself back then – dreaming that I was actually playing these songs with them in concert or in the studio. I opened my eyes and saw Ron Carter and Kenny Barron there in the studio playing, and then closed my eyes again and saw the little 12-year old boy named Gerry wink at me from behind his drum kit in his back bedroom and imagined him saying, “It’s not a dream anymore… now it’s for real,” – and then pictured him saying, “Now go live this dream we started 37 years ago!”
We all have guardian angels that come into our lives for different reasons. Neal Weiss and his amazing label Whaling City Sound made this dream come true on “Thrasher Dream Trio.” I hope you enjoy it.
Gerry “The Thrasher” Gibbs
New York, 2013
(PS) The name “Thrasher” was a nickname I gave pianist Don Pullen back in the early 1990’s. I wrote a song, “The Thrasher,” for Don that I recorded on my debut record for Quincy Jones Qwest/Warner Bros. Records back in 1995. Somehow, the title of the song became the name of the the CD (and the band) at the request of Quincy and his label – as well as a nickname people started calling me (instead of him), so I kept it.