David Gibson's A Little Somethin' (Posi-Tone, 2009) had a lot to offer, the trombonist garnering attention for its vibrant swing, soul and funk-laced jazz, but it wasn't a one-man show. He had some help from a stellar support crew, and the same musicians that assisted in fleshing out his vision there return for another go-round on End Of The Tunnel.
While saxophonist Julius Tolentino proves to be a simpatico frontline companion on this outing, Gibson's main foil is organist/label mate Jared Gold. Gold uses his own distinctive sound palette to dress each piece up in different aural attire that always seems to be perfectly tailored to fit the trombonist. Gold adds alien allure to the hip, head-nodding funk of "Wasabi," provides rhythmic uncertainty and stagnation-of-sorts on "A Place Of Our Own," and blends well with both horn men on the head of "Splat."
While Gibson explores a variety of styles on this album, the strongest performances are nestled within soulful surroundings. Gibson saunters over a relaxed rhythm section with supreme confidence and spirit on his own "Sunday Morning," and sells Jared Gold's "Preachin'" with a trombone sermon replete with churchy overtones.
The program's two non-originals are both connected to the same label and time periodBlue Note in 1963but they're vastly different vehicles. Herbie Hancock's "Blind Man, Blind Man" is Grade A soul-jazz with Tolentino's slyest soloing, while Jackie McLean's driving "Blue Rondo," features some aggressive work from drummer Quincy Davis. Gibson's decision to use these pieces as the entrance and exit music for an album that largely highlights original music is a bit odd, but it can be seen as a tip-of-the-hat to those artists and to two different musical manifestationssoul and firethat live within many of Gibson's performances on End Of The Tunnel.
Track Listing: Blind Man, Blind Man; Wasabi; Sunday Morning; End Of The Tunnel; A Place Of Our Own; Splat; The In-Whim; Preachin'; Blue Rondo.
Personnel: David Gibson: trombone; Julius Tolentino: alto saxophone; Jared Gold: organ; Quincy Davis: drums.