Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trios, Songs From My Father Review
by Stamish Malcuss
Bandleader, drummer-percussionist– arranger Gerry Gibbs is back with his anticipated thirteenth release as a leader called Songs From My Father. Gibbs offers a double-disc set featuring four iterations of his acclaimed Thrasher Dream Trio. The compiled cast of jazz titans pays homage to the musical legacy of Gerry’s 96-year-old father, Terry Gibbs. To honor Terry, one of the last living architects of bebop and innovators of the vibraphone, Gerry picked eighteen compositions from his father’s considerable discography and interpreted them with modern arrangements. Notably, Songs From My Father features the last recorded performance of the great Chick Corea and includes one of Corea’s tunes composed specifically for this project. Leading from the drum chair, his Thrasher Dream Trios include Chick Corea and Ron Carter; Kenny Barron and Buster Williams; Patrice Rushen and Larry Goldings; and Geoff Keezer and Christian McBride; along with percussionist Kyeshie Gibbs. The result is a double-disc filled with Gibbs’ collaborations with four astounding trios. In addition, Corea was deeply involved in the music, composing an original piece dedicated to Terry Gibbs, “Tango For Terry,” and arranging two pieces for the album.
“Bopstacle Course” is a Terry Gibbs composition from 1974 and features the trio of Gibbs, Corea, and Carter. NEA Jazz Master Carter notes, “one of the fun things that I look forward to when playing with Gerry is what part of drum history will I be able to identify when he plays…what an unfortunate surprise that the trio recording that I was a part of with Gerry would be Chick’s last recording. Chick and I played on several recordings together, and I cherish those moments even more now.” After the head, the trio settles into a relaxed medium-swing as Corea’s beautiful lines dance over Carter’s and Gibbs’ buoyant timekeeping. The joy in which Corea played is outstanding and will undoubtedly be missed. Both Gibbs and Carter performed melodic and musical solos and display the camaraderie this trio had.
“4 AM” is an up-tempo rhythm changes tune that has an impressive doubling of the melody by McBride and Keezer. Gibbs’ brushes drive the feel as Keezer’s elegant lines snake through the well-known changes. Gibbs’ drum solo is playful and is supported by Keezer and McBride. “To record my challenging music,” Gibbs notes, “and not being able to rehearse because of safety protocols seemed unrealistic, so I changed course and thought it would be best to play music that would be great vehicles to do what these 8 of the greatest improvisers on the planet are known for doing, improvise!” So, he chose from the jazz idiom – the archetypal works of his father Terry Gibbs. “4 AM” is a fun selection that shows Terry’s compositional command of the jazz catalog and the power and musicality of this trio.
Songs From My Father is a remarkable collection of tunes performed by four sets of trios that bring this music to life uniquely and memorably. Gibbs indicates that “for the longest time, I wanted to do a tribute to him while he was still here. He is getting ready to turn 97 this year and is still in great shape. He is, of course, known for being one of the last original BeBoppers alive and innovators of the vibraphone. As you will hear, he composes in many different ways making it a lot of fun to reimagine his music through these 8 true giants in music – his melodies inspired some incredible solos from all 9 of us.” In addition, Songs From My Father is the last recording Chick Corea played on, a testament to Corea’s stellar creative output right up until the very end. Of that and all the before mentioned reasons, Songs From My Father is highly recommended.
Gerry Gibbs, drums
Ron Carter, double bass
Kenny Barron, piano
Chick Corea, piano
Buster Williams, double bass
Patrice Rushen, vocals
Larry Goldings, keyboards, piano
Geoff Keezer, piano
Christian McBride, bass
Keyshia Gibbs, percussion