The Path to Delphi, trombonist David Gibson's latest work, is a walk along the path of spirituality in the tradition of John Coltrane. The Hellenic-themed opus kicks off with Dwayne Burno's bass statement on the title cut, a tightly arranged, reed-driven tune. Rick Germanson's deft and inventive piano solo sparkles, building the tension before Gibson steps in with a solo whose ideas fit nicely into the groove, with Wayne Escoffery wailing on soprano in his wake.
Rich horn arrangements highlight "Icarian Sea, the centerpiece of which is splendid Middle Eastern-laced soprano from Escoffery and measured blowing by Gibson. "Son of Alcumus is a slice of cool bop. Escoffery has another fine solo and the rhythm section switches things up behind the horns. Germanson solos here with the same adventurism, rhythmic inventiveness, and intonation as a sax player. "Eidolon is an up-tempo burner that marks the first appearance of the great Randy Brecker on trumpet. Joe Strasser's opening drum salvo takes the group to the groove, Gibson blows a hot solo, and Brecker sprints along behind him, his rhythmic drive and ideas clear and formidable as usual.
The beautiful "Hestia's Egress opens with Gibson brooding on his horn. Escoffery sympathizes with him and the two exchange lamentations as the rhythm section whispers its condolences. "Persephone is mid-tempo with another appearance by Brecker, who wittily works in a quote from an Irish jig during his soaring, fluttering solo. "Serpents of Hera features Brecker on flugelhorn supplementing Gibson's introspective playing.
The group fires on all cylinders again on "The Oracle Within, and "Prometheus' Peace is a fitting, serene conclusion to an excellent work of boundless depth and richness. Gibson shows that a personal quest, on whatever level, can be shared, inclusive, and enriching for everyone.
The Path to Delphi; Icarian Sea; Son of Alcumus; Eidolon; Hestia's Egress; Persephone;
Serpents of Hera; The Oracle Within; Prometheus; Peace.
David Gibson: trombone; Randy Brecker: trumpet, flugelhorn; Wayne Escoffery: soprano
saxophone; Rick Germanson: piano; Dwayne Burno: bass; Joe Strasser: drums.