Gerry Gibbs took advantage of the corona time by criss-crossing the United States in order to record enough material for a double CD with four different trios. The percussionist did not play ‘Song for my father’ (‘standard’ by Horace Silver, as attentive readers know) but ‘Songs From My Father’. His father is the vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, who also apparently composed enough material for such a production. On piano we hear Chick Corea – in one of his last recordings – as well as Kenny Barron, Geoff Keezer and Patrice Rushen. Corea contributed one piece: the only track not by Pa Gibbs. A tough piece with a few tempo changes, in which son Gibbs had to read a lot. But he must have inherited that skill from his father, who did a lot of studio work after all.
Terry Gibbs’ eighteen pieces – written in the years 1949-1985 – are mostly handy and playable. No complicated harmonies, but a strong groove: in fours, funky or Latin. Son Gibbs is like a fish in water in that. The blues and ‘I got rhythm’ are there; in addition, some atmospheric ballads and a new melody about the chords of ‘Softly as in a morning sunrise’. Simplicity and logic, that’s what it’s all about.
The piano giants make no effort to present themselves emphatically. They swing with dedication and smooth fingers. Whether the basses of Ron Carter and Buster Williams have been recorded properly is a matter of taste. Your reviewer hears a grunt similar to anything but a double bass. Christian McBride’s bass, recorded unamplified as always, was spared this fate.
Gerry Gibbs (57) uses the term “Thrasher” for just about everything he’s in charge of. That can be a Thrasher Big Band or, like here, four times a Trasher Dream Trio. That “Dream” is another favorite qualifier of his father, who for years led his Dream Band: a collection of studio musicians from LA who came to jazz on Monday or Tuesday nights.
Terry Gibbs (96, actually: Julius Gubenko) is present in one piece in which all the participants can be heard: a matter of complicated overdubbing. The old boss is astonishingly flexible in this. The old Gibbs recorded a complete album for the same label in 2017. 92 Years Young: Jammin at The Gibbs House.
Jeroen de Valk