It looks like a leader in the next wave of jazz trombone slingers has hit town. And with the arrival of David Gibson's first born CD, Maya
, all are invited to stay cool and have a cigar. This fine effort is an impressive calling card for the 33-year-old Gibson, arriving in '99 from Yukon, Okla. to strike gold in the Big Apple. Before letting the dust settle around his boot heels, Gibson reckoned to kick them up in the studio with a rough and ready posse of players on six originals, and tried and true ballads "Speak Low" and "What's New", plus a nice one called "New Level" by trumpeter/collaborator John Sneider.
The local musicians in the sextet have proven themselves as leaders and as sidemen touring and recording with some of the best: label mate Wayne Escoffery (tenor) with Herbie Hancock and Eric Reed; Tony Leone (drums) for Valery Ponomarev; Dwayne Burno (bass) for Roy Haynes, Benny Golson, Nicholas Payton, and the late Betty Carter.
Smoke, on the upper east side, is Gibson's home away from home. This is where he first locked horns with John Farnsworth, the eponymous inspiration for Maya's fabulous opening cut "Big John". The melody sounds as if it were lifted from some future book of jazz standards. Gibson's warm, mature tone and easy, swinging compositional chops recall a less awkward time when jazz didn't have to agitate nerves to be considered artful. Any existential angst seems all worked out by the time the tapes started rolling. Recorded lessons of J.J. Johnson, and hands-on training by trombone gurus Slide Hampton and Curtis Fuller are evident in his fluid playing. Compositionally, Gibson credits Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock as influences.
At Gibson's twice-weekly gigs at Jessie's Place, blow yourself and Gibson away and request "Big John", or the lovely ballad to his daughter, Maya, home asleep just a few blocks away. And if John Sneider happens to be sitting in, have them blaze through the blistering "Snide Remarks".
Gibson tours and records as a member of Slide Hampton's two-decade-old bone fiesta, World of Trombones (WOT's twelve masterful trombonists were captured live by the Telarc label at the noteworthy Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh). Telarc also recorded Gibson with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band under the direction of Jon Faddis at the MCG. Look for that recently released CD under the title, Things to Come
. And look for more good things to come from New York's own recent arrival, David Gibson.
This review first appeared in the July 2002 issue of All About Jazz: New York .
Personnel: Dwayne Burno - Bass Jeremy Manasia - Piano John Sneider - Trumpet, Flugelhorn Wayne Escoffery - Sax (Tenor) Peter Hartman - Bass