Songs from My Father.
What a marvelous idea!and not simply for the sentiment. Drummer Gerry Gibbs
' father happens to be Hall of Fame vibraphonist (and sometime song writer) Terry Gibbs
, who is still on the scene at ninety-seven (and, in fact, making a guest appearance on the first disc of this superlative two-CD set). Eighteen of the elder Gibbs' songs, written between 1949 and 1985 (and one more, "Tango for Terry," by the late Chick Corea
) are performed by four of his son's well-chosen (and well-named) Thrasher Dream Trios, whose members include pianists Kenny Barron
, Patrice Rushen
, Geoff Keezer
, Corea (the last recorded appearance before his passing in February 2021), organist Larry Goldings
and bassists Ron Carter
, Buster Williams
and Christian McBride
most, if not all, of whom will one day earn the same Hall of Fame status accorded Terry Gibbs.
As the elder Gibbs came of age in the bop eragigging with a Who's Who of jazz luminaries including Woody Herman
, Buddy Rich
, Benny Goodman
, Chubby Jackson
, Mel Torme
and Louie Bellson
, and later leading his Los Angeles-based Dream Bandmost of his engaging themes can trace their roots to bop, and the trios take to them like ducks to water. The line-ups are traditional piano-bass-drums save for Dream Trio 3, on which Goldings' Hammond B3 organ complements Gibbs and pianist Rushen. Their appearances are close to evenly divided, with Trios 1 and 2 performing on four tracks each, Trios 3 and 4 on five apiece, and everyone (plus Terry Gibbs, whose extended vibes solo is as sharp and resourceful as ever) having an absolute blast on "Hey Chick," which closes the first disc. The title is no doubt coincidental, as the tune was written in 1961 when Corea was a mere twenty years old.
"Hey Chick" follows "Lonely Days," the nearest pretense to a ballad on the first disc. The same holds true for the most part on the second disc, as swinging is what Terry Gibbs was (and is) about. Trio 3 comes out blazing on the disc's sunny, samba-like opener, "Townhouse," wherein Goldings adds color with some bird-like special effects, as does Trio 2 on the lively "T&S," as Barron crafts a stunning solo while Gibbs and Williams lend rhythmic backbone. Gibbs, Keezer and McBride keep the fire burning on "4 AM," as they do on "For Keeps" and "Gibberish." "Waltz for My Children" (Trio 1), the disc's lone serenade, showcases Corea in typically masterful form. The first seven tracks on the first disc from "Kick Those Feet" (1964) to "The Fat Man" (1958)are exemplary, as are the others on the second disc, from the dynamic "Hippie Twist" to the well-grooved "For Keeps," and especially the melodious "Pretty Blue Eyes." While none has entered the rarefied pantheon of jazz standards, several couldand even shouldbe gauged by that barometer. At the very least, they should be played more often; they are that good. And so, it goes without saying, are the trios Gerry Gibbs has assembled to give them life. Songs from My Father
is more than a marvelous idea; it is a musical treat from end to end, and a well-deserved show of appreciation from son to father for the guidance and wisdom that have assuredly helped shape his impressive career.
Disc 1: Kick Those Feet; Smoke ‘Em Up; Bopstacle Course; Nutty Notes; Take It from Me;
Sweet Young Song of Love; The Fat Man; Lonely Days; Hey Chick. Disc 2: Townhouse;
T&S; 4 AM; Waltz for My Children; Hippie Twist; Lonely Dreams; For Keeps; Pretty Blue
Eyes; Gibberish; Tango for Terry.