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Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio: We're Back

Jack Bowers By

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Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio: We're Back
We're Back —a brief title that offers a tantalizing preview: an encore by drummer Gerry Gibbs and his all-star Thrasher Dream Trio (Ron Carter, bass; Kenny Barron, piano). This second time around, however, there are special guests—vibraphonist Warren Wolf, organist Larry Goldings, saxophonist Steve Wilson—and a menu that consists almost entirely of classic R&B and soul tunes from the 1960s and '70s.

If you've been wondering how, say, Stevie Wonder's pop music would adapt to a contemporary jazz format, wonder no more. The same holds true for Marvin Gaye, Linda Creed, the Average White Band and Earth, Wind and Fire. While the styles may vary, music is music, and in the capable hands of Messrs. Gibbs, Carter, Barron and their sidekicks, everything meshes seamlessly and fits like a glove. Wonder wrote or co-wrote four of the album's fifteen selections, and there are five others by Earth, Wind and Fire complementing Gaye's "What's Going On," Creed's "Betcha By Golly, Wow" and the Average White Band's "Pick Up the Pieces." Rounding out the program are "Where Is the Love" (Ralph McDonald / William Salter), "I Say a Little Prayer" (Burt Bacharach / Hal David) and the closing "Theme" by trumpeter Miles Davis (in a beatbox version—Gibbs "sings" the drums with his mouth).

Once the concept for the album had been chosen, Gibbs writes, he "decided not to re-harmonize any of the original chord changes . . . because these songs are already so beautiful." Instead, he would "only change the rhythms to make them swing like [he had] done in the past with R&B tunes." As a result, each of the songs is readily identifiable yet swings earnestly in a jazz milieu. Listen, for example, to Earth, Wind and Fire's "Fantasy," a nimble cooker on which Wilson's soprano sax and Barron's piano venture near the boiling point. Or "Runnin,'" another EWF entry wherein Barron and Wolf do the same. The Average White Band's "Pick Up the Pieces" burns even more rubber, while "I Say a Little Prayer" is yet another evergreen that benefits greatly from the trio's free and easy approach.

Even though this is a trio that needs no helping hands to succeed, guests Wolf, Goldings and Wilson make the most of their chances to shine, while Gibbs' wife, Kyeshie, to whom the album is dedicated, adds color along the way with wind chimes, rain stick and African bells. Wolf is featured on "Betcha By Golly, Wow," Wilson's alto on Earth, Wind and Fire's "Mighty Mighty." The trio plays its own hand on half a dozen numbers, starting with Wonder's "Too High." Perhaps the best way to summarize the Thrasher Dream Trio's second album is to note that it is in every way as persuasive as the first.

Track Listing

Too High; What's Going On; Where Is The Love; Reasons; Mighty Mighty; Betcha By Golly Wow; My Cherie Amour; Creepin'; Fantasy; Living For The City/Overjoyed; Brazilian Rhyme; Runnin'; I Say A Little Prayer; Pick Up the Pieces; Theme.

Personnel

Gerry Gibbs: drums; Ron Carter: bass; Kenny Barron: piano; Warren Wolf: vibraphone (2, 6, 7, 11, 12); Larry Goldings: Hammond B-3 organ (2, 7); Steve Wilson: alto saxophyone (5, 9).

Album information

Title: We're Back | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound

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