Monday, September 30, 2013

With his new Thrasher Dream Trio, featuring Kenny Barron and Ron Carter, drummer Gerry Gibbs finds that dreams really can come true #jazz


Let’s face it, dream rarely come true. If someone says, “You’re a dream come true!” well, you have to question the likeliness of that at least a bit.

Just maybe, though, there’s a wee shred of truth in the Thrasher Dream Trio, the name of Gerry Gibbs’ latest band with Kenny Barron and Ron Carter. The fact is if you’re a jazz drummer, as Gibbs is, and you’re playing in a band with those guys, it could very well be a dream come true.

At the same time, it’s something of a dream come true for fans of great and pure jazz as well. Gibbs, Carter, and Barron are simply terrific together; they’re tight, focused and really sound like a band. While occasionally high profile projects like this one fail to live up to the possibilities, this one obviously doesn’t; it bristles with energy, color and imagination. The trio sounds familiar at the same time it sounds like it has the soul of a wanderer. It is comfortable and relaxed as well as cheeky and downright flawless.

Digging further into Gibbs’ dream work turns up lots of luscious moments. Johnny Mandel’s "The Shadow of Your Smile" is arranged in a fresh key, which adds some surprise and unexpected contours. Monk's "Epistrophy" kicks off the album with crisp, vibrant playing and a snazzy up tempo. Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" swings pretty hard without ever losing the loveliness of the melody. Herbie Hancock's "The Eye of the Hurricane” accelerates out of the gate and doesn’t slow down, a real tribute to Barron’s continued impressive dexterity.

Gibbs has been on the New York jazz scene for a while now, accompanying many great musicians, but always staying under the radar and underrated. "Thrasher Dream Trio" will change this notion. He wrote four of the songs here, and arranged everything with the exception of “Epistrophy.” Barron and Carter, the giant piano/bass team, certainly need no introduction, but a note must be made about their collaboration here. Their history working together is one of the intangibles that makes this project so interesting. Not only does each one’s individual elan show through Gibbs’ compositions, so their chemistry also becomes a major player.

Above all, Thrasher Dream Trio recorded at the acclaimed Systems II studio in Brooklyn with the able assistance of Joe Marciano, confirms that Gibbs can now begin to stand taller in jazz circles. More importantly, though, he can boast of the fact that one of his dreams, however unlikely, has indeed come true.

Also available on Whaling City Sound – Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Big Band “Live At Luna” (wcs033) Gerry Gibbs Electric Thrasher Orchestra “Plays The Music Of Miles Davis 1967-1975″ (wcs047)


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