When drummer Gerry "The Thrasher" Gibbs was a youngster, growing up in California in the '70s, he idolized bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron. Of course, neither man played his instrument of choice, but he recognized the greatness that emanated from both players and he viewed them as exemplars of what's right and good in jazz. He sought out and savored every album that he could find that each man appeared on and dreamt of playing with them; that dream was fulfilled with this recording.
When Gibbs was tossing around ideas for this albumhis eighth overall and third on the Whaling Sound imprintthe possibility of teaming with Barron and Carter came up. The stars aligned, as the label and both veterans took to the idea, and the stage was set. Gibbs then put together an eclectic playlist, covering everything from John Coltrane to Burt Bacharach and Herbie Hancock to Johnny Mandel, and arranged it all, save for two songs that come from Carter's book of arrangementsThelonious Monk's "Epistrophy" and the bassist's own "A Feeling." They laid down all of the music over three sessionstwo in December of 2012 and one in February of 2013and the rest is now history.
The finished product is predictably strong. Any fears that Gibbs might not hold his own in such heavy company are allayed from the start; not a weak link exists here. All three men come at this music on equal footing. Moving balladry ("The Woman On The TV Screen"), full steam ahead jazz ("The Eye Of The Hurricane"), lightly funky fare ("Tell Me A Bedtime Story"), Latin-leaning sounds ("Sunshower") and more figure into the equation. Some pieces go right down the middle and others contain a few curve balls, but it all hits the sweet spot in the ear.
This trio sounds superb whether cooking with Coltrane's music ("Impressions"), paying tribute to pianist Don Pullen ("The Thrasher") or swinging a Mandel classic ("The Shadow Of Your Smile"). Perhaps this album can simply be the first in a dream sequence of records? It at least begs for one sequel.
Track Listing: Epistrophy; Promises, Promises; When I Dream; The Shadow of Your Smile;
The Woman on the T.V. Screen; The Eye of the Hurricane; Tell Me a
Bedtime Story; A Feeling; Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing; Sunshower;
Here Comes Ron; Impressions; The Thrasher; Mr. Clean; The Theme.
Personnel: Gerry Gibbs: drums; Kenny Barron: piano; Ron Carter: bass.