Gerry Gibbs: Thrasher Dream Trio (2013)
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A trio that clings together and swings together. Drummer Gerry Gibbs calls this a "dream trio," a description that seems as appropriate as any. Surely, having pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Ron Carter as teammates must seem like a dream come true for any timekeeper. To summarize the point clearly, Barron and Carter are quite simply two of the best at what they do. And as for Gibbs, the new kid on the block, he's more than happy to be traveling in such fast company, and it shows.
Besides keeping effective time, Gibbs wrote four of the album's fifteen songsone each for Carter, McCoy Tyner, Don Pullen and Gerry's wife, Kyeshiewhile Carter composed "A Feeling," Barron "Sunshower." And although it cannot be stated categorically that the material was chosen with Barron and Carter in mind, it clearly takes musicians of their talent and experience to engage, for example, Herbie Hancock's tempestuous "Eye of the Hurricane," at least at the tempo chosen for this animated session. Barron, who is in charge of most things melodic, is comfortable regardless of mood or tempo, from "Hurricane" to Gibbs' luminous ballad, "The Woman on the TV Screen." Carter has his moment in the spotlight on another Gibbs original, "Hear Comes Ron," on which Barron also fashions another in a series of tantalizing solos.
The buoyant curtain-raiser, Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy," is followed by Hal David / Burt Bacharach's "Promises, Promises" and Gibbs' bow to Tyner, "When I Dream." Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of Your Smile" is taken at a snappy pace, as is most everything else, from Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" to Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," John Coltrane's "Impressions" and Weldon Irvine's "Mr. Clean." The blues is represented by Gibbs' salute to Pullen, "The Thrasher." Barron, who never seems short of fresh ideas, keeps the lyrical compass steady while Gibbs and Carter lend unflagging support.
As trios go, this one is enticing from any angle. Barron and Carter are bound for various Halls of Fame, and Gibbs more than holds his own among these giants. It's a charming session, well-recorded and generously timed at roughly seventy-five minutes. As Sam Spade observed in The Maltese Falcon, "the stuff that dreams are made of . . ."
Track Listing: Epistrophy; Promises, Promises; When I Dream; The Shadow of Your Smile; The Woman on the TV Screen; The Eye of the Hurricane; Tell Me a Bedtime Story; A Feeling; Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing; Sunshower; Hear Comes Ron; Impressions; The Thrasher; Mr. Clean; The Theme.
Personnel: Kenny Barron: piano; Ron Carter: bass; Gerry Gibbs: drums.
Record Label: Whaling City Sound