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All About Jazz – chimes in first on the new one “Inner Agent” by David Gibson

mindset2The idea of creating a safe space to allow for disregarding safety may be paradoxical in nature, but it makes perfect sense when contextualized or couched in jazz terms. There can be no resolution of faith in one’s surroundings and colleagues without taking the trust fall, there can be no reward without risk, and there can be no true growth without belief. Those ideals are jazz to the core, and they’re at the heart of this project from trombonist David Gibson.

Inner Agent, the fourth fine album that Gibson has released on the Posi-tone imprint, seeks to explore those very concepts to the fullest. It walks a similar path as Boom! (Posi-tone, 2015), a directional shift that found Gibson moving away from an organ-centric format and creating a bolder sonic brew with a crew of young guns, but it’s a more evolved statement. Gibson has essentially kept the Boom! band intact—trumpeter Freddie Hendrix fills the seat formerly occupied by Josh Evans, but pianist Theo Hill, bassist Alexander Claffy, and drummer Kush Abadey all remain aboard—and his music is all the better for it. The rapport between these men has been strengthened over time, a greater sense of understanding has been fostered through their interactions, and a willingness to take more chances is evident on this recording.

Gibson delivers a winning program that references his influences, speaks to his love of diversity, and allows for the unexpected to enter into the equation. He comes off as an intrepid and indomitable spirit, but he’s not afraid to also let his emotions show. Whether engaging his core group in dialogue, working with or against his guests—saxophonists Doug Webb and Caleb Wheeler Curtis—or ceding the spotlight entirely, Gibson personifies leadership and puts the focus on the music. This is jazz with nothing to hide, made by a band with a hell of a lot to say.

The album kicks off with a one-two punch in the form of the racing title track and the shape-shifting “Axe Grinder.” Those original numbers position Gibson and his band as aggressors, but there’s more than blood, sweat, and sheer force here. A visit to the church of Billy Taylor on “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” makes that point. From there, Gibson keeps you guessing about where he might go. “The Scythe” is a slice of scintillating modern jazz, hard driving and edgy in all the best ways; Claffy’s “AJ” is pure buoyant charm; “The Court” and “Sweetness”—two tunes penned by trombonist Curtis Fuller—speak to strength and jauntiness, respectively; and “Gravy,” an older Gibson tune that comes from another time and band in his past, is unadulterated jazz-funk. That last number would’ve been a finer closer, but Gibson’s personalized take on “Here Comes The Sun” is an even better one.

I had the pleasure of being present when some of this music came into existence in the studio, and it’s no lie or exaggeration to say that the energy in the room at the time has carried over to the finished product. There’s a good deal of music out there that pulls from these same stylistic bags, but much of it seems calcified by comparison. Inner Agent is brimming with life.

Dan Bilawsky – All About Jazz

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David Gibson: Propelling The Story Forward – by Dan Bilawsky for “All About Jazz”










It’s late morning on Sunday, January 17, 2016—a wintry New York day that will later see snow—and much of Brooklyn seems to be in a state of hibernation or hiding. There are few signs of life on the streets, but there’s no shortage of action in the basement of the former Public School 9 Annex. That’s where the studio known as Acoustic Recording is situated, and that’s where trombonist David Gibson has come to record what will be his fourth date for the Posi-Tone imprint and his seventh leader effort in total. As the session nears its start, Gibson is taking care of business: He’s warming up, looking over some parts, and chatting amiably with his band mates to keep the mood light. In short, he’s doing what any good leader will do to pave the way for success in such a situation.

Over the course of the first several hours of recording, Gibson demonstrates again and again that leadership is a fluid concept with no absolutes. There’s knowing where to begin and how to get everybody into the zone, something that he addresses through Dr. Billy Taylor‘s churchy “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”; there’s having the flexibility and willingness to make adjustments when things aren’t going according to plan, demonstrated with some on-the-fly structural tweaks to bassist Alex Claffy‘s “AJ”; there’s a willingness to simply let the music flow when everything feels just right, exhibited during a metrically-morphing Gibson number dubbed “The Axe Grinder”; and there’s an awareness and openness to the thoughts of the other stakeholders in the room. By the time the band breaks for lunch, five songs are in the can—the three aforementioned numbers, a beautifully arranged “Here Comes The Sun,” and an appealing take on trombonist Curtis Fuller‘s “The Court”—and all is right with the recording process.

The same qualities exhibited during the first half of that session seem to also come to the fore in Gibson’s other musical goings-on. Whether fronting his own band in live settings, serving as Musical Director for the George Gee Swing Orchestra, putting his skills to good use in pianist Orrin Evans‘ Captain Black Big Band, sharing his hard-earned knowledge on his blog and in higher education settings, or serving in a strictly supportive role, Gibson remains the consummate professional—knowledgeable, malleable, organized, friendly, and fixed on the task at hand. In short, the David Gibson of 2016 is a pillar in his musical community and a man who could be said to have the world on a string. But that didn’t just happen for him. It’s something he willed over the course of his development, a non-stop expedition with the occasional bump in the road and a consistently upward trajectory. He’s the embodiment of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote that “accomplishment(s) will prove to be a journey, not a destination.”

In a musical sense, Gibson’s journey began during his elementary school years in Mound, Minnesota. That’s when he first connected with the trombone, and that’s where the initial seeds for his future successes were planted. Gibson showed great promise during his first two years playing the instrument there, but his enthusiasm waned after the family moved to Oklahoma. There, students didn’t start playing instruments until the 7th grade, so the budding David Gibson found himself surrounded by neophytes who were two years behind him in their instrumental studies. He was ready to throw in the towel by the conclusion of his middle school years, and had the high school jazz band director not sent him a lifeline, he may very well have done just that. As Gibson recalls, “we received a telephone call from the jazz ensemble director at the high school who had heard of me and wanted to recruit me to be a part of the jazz ensemble. He said to my mom, ‘look, just have him come to one rehearsal. If he doesn’t like it after one rehearsal, he doesn’t have to come anymore.'”

That one rehearsal proved to be a life-changing event for the young David Gibson. It opened his eyes to a different world, one that showed the high yield that comes with great expectations. Looking back on it, Gibson reflects on the influence of his teacher and the key lesson that he learned from that experience: “My director was a military man and he had a real military philosophy about this. He was very hardcore, no nonsense in his dealings. And he did something then that I later learned was so important: He set the bar very high, so everybody reached for it.” The experience of working under such a commanding and demanding leader helped Gibson and many of his classmates to develop into strong players with great range and a deep understanding of what it takes to precisely shape the sound of a jazz ensemble. At the same time, Gibson’s private studies were helping him to learn the basic ins-and-outs of soloing and, even more importantly, assisting him in developing questioning techniques that would serve to guide him in the years to come.

At the conclusion of his high school years, Gibson moved on to the University of Central Oklahoma. There, he found himself at the center of a jazz program that, not unlike his high school group, emphasized ensemble execution over individual growth and expression. This brought out some feelings of discontentment in Gibson, who readily admits that he probably turned a lot of people off with the attitude he was projecting at that time. He notes, “[In that environment], the showmanship aspect—the veneer—ended up being much more important than the DNA of whatever the story was. So I was looking for a new mentality.” That mentality had everything to do with a search for a certain sound and method of expression. “I remember getting frustrated going through that search,” Gibson recalls, “because there [was a divide] between the music I was listening to versus what was fed to me. They were telling me to play like Urbie Green, play like Frank Rosolino, play like Carl Fontana, maybe play like Jack Teagarden. But nobody was telling me to play like Curtis Fuller. They weren’t even telling me to play like J.J. Johnson.”

Ultimately, it would be the influence of Fuller and Johnson—and the great Slide Hampton—that would provide the greatest direction for Gibson while also setting him apart from his peers during his undergraduate years. And it was encouragement from iconic trumpeter Clark Terry that would help Gibson to realize he was really onto something there. While attending and working at Terry’s summer jazz camps, the trumpet giant praised Gibson in his pursuit of that Fuller-Johnson-Hampton inspired direction. He also taught Gibson the value and importance of using whatever is at your disposal to “propel the story forward,” filling the role of mentor at an important stage in the trombonist’s musical and personal development.

To a large extent, Gibson’s college experience was about establishing a direction in performance and developing a personalized sound. But it was also about finding a voice through composition. Gibson’s interest in writing predated his arrival at the University of Central Oklahoma, as he dabbled in that department during his formative years. Unfortunately, he lacked real training or any sort of road map to follow when he was in high school. That all changed when he set foot on campus. As Gibson was just starting, Vince Norman, who would later go on to become the staff arranger for the U.S. Army’s Jazz Ambassadors, was on his way out. The two only overlapped for a single semester, but Norman helped steer Gibson in the right direction by sharing some of his knowledge and pushing him toward, and through, some of the information in Rayburn Wright’s Inside The Score.

There was no formal course of study for jazz composition that Gibson could’ve taken there at that time, but the knowledge gleaned from that book and the guidance and encouragement from Norman helped him to grow by leaps and bounds as a writer. At the same time that he was developing those writing skills, he was also able to use the big band at the school as his laboratory for experimentation. There, he quickly learned what worked and what didn’t in the charts he wrote. In discussion, he jokingly recalls learning about the true meaning of “fish paper”—a chart that’s so bad that it might as well just be used to “clean your fish on it”—during that period of time. But every one of those writing experiences for Gibson—good or bad—helped him to sharpen his pen and set him up for the next stage in his development.

The arrival at that next stage was bridged by a trip to Rochester, NY, where the International Trombone Association was holding its annual convention. That’s where Gibson would go on to win the Frank Rosolino Scholarship, meet Curtis Fuller for the first time, and learn of an opening in the Eastman School of Music’s composition program. All the stars aligned there, so Gibson moved to Rochester to study at Eastman upon completing his undergraduate degree. The years in Rochester—the mid to late ’90s—would prove to be a major transitional period in Gibson’s life. Marriage, personal growth, the birth of a daughter, immersion into a lively musical scene, completion of graduate work, a brief move back to Oklahoma followed by a divorce, and several more years making music in Rochester all came in and out of the picture over the course of (about) five years.

As the millennium was nearing its end, Gibson sensed a need for change. His girlfriend at the time was planning on moving to New York City, and he knew that that’s where he wanted and needed to be, so he up and moved there at the dawn of 1999. At that point, he was put to the test in a real pressure-cooker atmosphere, an environment that has sent many a musician packing. But Gibson wouldn’t be swayed or deterred by any experiences. Instead, he let any difficulties spur him on. There were a-ha moments to be had in many encounters, and Gibson was open to having them. One valuable lesson came from a respected trombonist who simultaneously gave Gibson some encouragement and advice. “I remember sitting in with Steve Davis at the old Savoy that was at 41st Street on the corner of Ninth Avenue,” Gibson recalls. “I sat in on a tune at the end of the night, and Steve complimented me on my playing. But then, in a subtle way, he also taught me an important lesson.” That lesson centered on the need to think about the music as much as you think about your own instrument. And it’s a lesson that Gibson took to heart, ultimately changing the way he heard the music and himself.

While Gibson looks back at his early years in New York City as lean years, his name was already starting to circulate during that period. He appeared as part of a trombone choir on Wycliffe Gordon‘s The Search (Nagel Heyer, 2000), worked with vocalist Nancy Wilson on her Christmas album, gigged and recorded with The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band, and began to cultivate his own scene, which would lead to his debut album—Maya (Nagel Heyer, 2002). Gibson notes the circumstances that led to that first leader session: “When I moved to town there was a little restaurant called Salt on Columbus Avenue and, maybe, 75th Street. They had music there four nights a week, and every night was a steady band. It was one of my regular hangs, and I knew I could usually sit in on the last set. I was introduced to a lot of people there. [pianist] Rick Germanson used to play there; that’s also where I became friendly with [saxophonist] Wayne Escoffery; and [saxophonist] Ian Hendrickson-Smith also had a steady night there.” The scene surrounding that restaurant and the connection that many of those musicians had to the Nagel Heyer imprint would eventually lead Gibson to their doorstep with part of an album. “When I got here, the first thing I realized is that I had no gigs,” Gibson amusingly notes. “But I wanted to keep writing music, so I started writing and got a group of people together to make what I thought was a demo. We went down to a studio on a Saturday afternoon and recorded about six tunes.” Gibson sent those recordings off to Nagel Heyer, the label liked what it heard, and the scene was set for Maya, a well-crafted album named after Gibson’s daughter.

Around the same time that Gibson sent that demo to Nagel Heyer to set the wheels in motion for Maya, he sent a copy of those same recordings to Slide Hampton. “When I came to New York,” Gibson remembers, “I immediately reached out to him to try to set up a lesson. I couldn’t arrange a lesson, but when I did the demo, I sent him a copy of it.” Upon hearing the music, Hampton called Gibson, praised his work, and invited him to take part in the reconstituted World Of Trombones band. It was a life-changing experience, giving Gibson the opportunity to work with some of his influences, travel to Europe to perform, and, a few years later, record with a slightly different version of the band on Hampton’s Spirit Of The Horn (MCG Jazz, 2003). It was also the scene for the development of a longstanding friendship between Gibson and Fuller, cemented during a potentially harrowing experience obtaining last-minute passport renewals and cultivated over the course of the many years that have followed.

Gibson’s career wasn’t in full bloom by 2003, but it was certainly moving toward that direction. He had a fairly steady flow of local gigs, his first album had entered the marketplace and received some positive press, he was about to begin a decade-plus stint teaching at the State University of New York at Geneseo, and his work with high profile figures like Hampton had helped to raise his profile in the jazz community at large. He was soon to receive another reputation boost through his participation and placing in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trombone Competition that year. It was an experience that almost never happened for Gibson, as the organization behind the competition had placed an age cap on the event. But the cap was eventually lifted, and Gibson went on to take Second Place honors in a strong field that included future heavyweights like Marshall Gilkes and First Place winner Andre Hayward. Gibson looks back on the whole experience with mixed feelings, but, nevertheless, the results helped to confirm his ascendancy into the upper ranks of jazz trombonists. His subsequent recordings would come to do the same.

The Path To Delphi (Nagel Heyer, 2005)—Gibson’s sophomore effort—was born out of a scene at another restaurant/gigging situation. Gibson explains, “I used to book these little gigs at a restaurant in my old neighborhood called Jesse’s Place. I had two nights a week that I would book there, and I would always have a lot of those tunes out that ended up on that record. Wayne would do some of those gigs, and [bassist] Dwayne Burno would do a lot of those gigs. So all the cats on that record would come through a lot and we would play a lot. It wasn’t in that configuration [on the record], but it was that cast of characters.” In addition, the record featured trumpet legend Randy Brecker, a somewhat last minute addition taking the place of an unavailable Dr. Eddie Henderson. Brecker, not surprisingly, fit in perfectly and rounded out the sextet. Gibson’s third record—G-Rays (Nagel Heyer, 2008)—languished on the shelf for several years before receiving an under-the-radar release, so all signs pointed to the need to make a change at that stage of the game. That’s when Posi-Tone Records came into sight.

Gibson’s first two records for that label—A Little Somethin’ (Posi-Tone, 2009) and End Of The Tunnel (Posi-Tone, 2011)—would come to feature a funky organ quartet that was born of a happy accident. “Around 2006,” Gibson recalls, “I received a call from [saxophonist/bassist] Mike Karn to play a gig at Fat Cat on a Saturday night. The band was me, [organist] Jared Gold, [drummer] Quincy Davis, and Karn. Then, I got a call in the middle of the day from [saxophonist] Julius Tolentino, telling me that Karn got food poisoning and couldn’t make the gig. So Julius says he’s going to cover him, but he tells me I should bring some music because he’s coming straight from another gig and he won’t have any. So, all of a sudden, I’m the leader.” In another strange twist, Tolentino ended up being unable to make the gig, leaving trumpeter Duane Eubanks to fill the void temporarily. But all of those eleventh hour changes did nothing to dampen the spirit of the performance that evening. That particular event marked the birth of a band, which included Tolentino, who eventually took over for an all-too-busy Eubanks, and led to a steady series of gigs and the aforementioned albums.

A bit further down the road, there was Boom! (Posi-Tone, 2015). It’s an album that’s at once bracing, beautiful, in the tradition, and outside the box. After two recordings and steady gigging with the organ quartet, Gibson switched gears. He enlisted a crew of young(er) guns—pianist Theo Hill, trumpeter Josh Evans, bassist Alex Claffy, and drummer Kush Abadey —and changed his outlook a bit, adopting an edgier quality while retaining the streamlined flow present in his earlier work. It proved to be a raving success, and Boom! became something of a breakout album for a man who already had five other records under his belt and fifteen years of high-level playing experience in New York. And that was just the beginning for Gibson in 2015. He also saw the release of Swing Makes You Happy! from the George Gee Swing Orchestra, a critically-hailed album featuring Gibson’s trombone work and his writing for a fierce little big band, and he took on a larger role with Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band. It was a banner year for Gibson, and 2016 looks to be another one.

Two weeks after the session for Gibson’s forthcoming album we sit down for a lengthy talk at the Chelsea apartment he shares with his wife of five years—trumpeter Kiku Collins. Over the course of several hours he proves more than willing to look in on his past, evident in the personalized history that informs this writing, but he’s more eager to discuss the present. He’s rightfully enthused about the music he just recorded, featuring the same band on Boom! minus Josh Evans, who’s replaced by trumpeter Freddie Hendrix; he’s thrilled with the current state of affairs in the aforementioned large ensembles he works with; and he’s both happy with his life as it is and eager to keep moving forward, noting that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. He speaks with candor and humor, never tries to sugarcoat anything, and finds a good deal of wisdom and clarity in both the lemons and the laurels that life can hurl at you. Through conversation and action he shows himself to be a pragmatist in practice, a philosopher at heart, a realist in his exploration of self, and an optimist for the modern age. The David Gibson of today only exists because of the fact that the David Gibsons of the past were open enough to let life’s truths reveal themselves and hold sway over future outcomes. And as Clark Terry once taught him to do, he’s propelling the story forward.

By Dan Bilawsky

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D4M goes “Boom!” for David Gibson….



I’ve just heard David Gibson and his trombone on his latest effort “Boom!” and it’s been a lot to take in. He and four other extremely talented musicians have made a memorable jazz album for the modern jazz enthusiast, but whether or not its magic holds up against the upcoming albums of this year depends on much more than your first impression. Let me introduce you to your first impression, the only publicly available single, The High Road. It’s a quick bebop-y single with erratic displays of talent from all of the quintet, especially the trombone. The piano will ease you in but the pace is quick to escalate and drag you along with it. The beauty is in how subtle the transitions are. Beautiful progressions and shared spotlights make this a very fluid single. You can’t feel an ego, and you can barely taste the chemistry because they’re all so well tuned into each other. My only problem is how completely different The High Road is to the rest of the album. In that case its name makes a lot of sense, because everything else takes a much lower, slower, and smoother route. The only other song that livens up as much as today’s feature is probably The Cup Bearers. If you’re enjoying The High Road, be sure to check that other one out somehow. Otherwise, expect slower tempo with equally erratic melodies on the rest of Boom!. 

Very strong, sound bass lines, together with David’s zig-zagging trombone, make the brunt of the effort. The keys are top quality, the percussion is versatile, and the accompanying trumpet will add intricate details one rarely encounters on such an album. It’s a real shame more of the release can’t be admired without committing to it entirely. Despite this, I recommend it. If jazz brass is usually to your liking, I’m sure this effort will fit snug with your collection. Expect no one to step across overpowered lines except for David, occasionally, as he strengthens his presence. It’s all ends quite beautifully, really.

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Jazz Junction Review: DAVID GIBSON – BOOM!



Trombonist David Gibson delivers a solid post-bop session that adds further affirmation to the vibrancy of the current jazz scene on his sixth release as a leader. This is no-nonsense, straight ahead music in a program of mostly original compositions. The instrumental setting is a quintet with the fine trumpet player Josh Evans and rhythm section comprised of Theo Hill playing piano, Alex Claffy at the bass and Kush Abadey at the drums. The group has been performing in NYC clubs and exhibits the mature spark of innovative players with exhilarating interplay and solo efforts.

A Thelonious Monk International Trombone Competition finalist (2003), Gibson has performed with Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath and James Moody among other jazz greats. He possesses a sound reminiscent of J.J. Johnson with a clear, euphonious tone whether burning on up-tempo numbers or upon more laid back settings. Trumpeter Evans, as with Joshua Bruneau, is one of the remarkable up-and-comers on the instrument with a bright sound and formidable chops. The rhythm section is integral to the proceedings with pianist Hill’s exciting solos, bassist Claffy’s crisp notes and drummer Abadey’s resourceful drum set work providing substantive embellishments throughout.

Gibson’s compositions are all engaging: “The High Road” with its modal feel and tight contrast of trombone and trumpet, the groove oriented number “Grass Fed” that has Hill rendering an entrancing solo at the electric piano followed by probing solos from the horns, the unrestrained burner “Eyes of Argus” that leaves a trail of smoke in its wake and the pensive “Empathy” that has the group working in a more subdued setting. As with the other albums we’ve explored, these sessions are not indulgent star trips for a leader, rather interactive ensembles that display immense talents in uniquely fabricated and remarkably cohesive contexts.



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StepTempest covers David Gibson “Boom!”…




Trombonist and composerDavid Gibson has a new CD, his 6th as a leader and 3rd for Posi-Tone Records. With a title like “Boom!“, one might expect the season to be a high-powered, “in-your-face”, hard bop but, instead, this is a pleasingly nuanced set of (mostly) originals that finds Gibson leading an impressive quartet of young musicians including Connecticut native Josh Evans (trumpet), pianist/Fender Rhodes Theo Hill, bassist Alex Claffy (Ralph Peterson) and drummerKush Abadey (Wallace Roney).

Like a number of Posi-Tone records, this session’s music gives off the vibe of mid-1960s Blue Note Records.  There are several high-powered numbers, such as “The Cup Bearers” (composed by Tom McIntosh for an Lp of the same name released by trumpeter Blue Mitchell) and Gibson’s “The High Road“, tunes where Abadey’s propulsion, Hill’s muscular chords, and Claffy’s active bass work leads the way.  Gibson’s solos tend to be fairly mellow, phrases that are soaked in blue tones, while Evans’ attack has a more forceful attack, not unlike Randy Brecker and Freddie Hubbard.  He can be mellow as well; he shows a softer side on the funky “Grass Fed” although the drummer “gooses him into the higher register at the climax of the solo.  That track, as well as “Empathy” and “The Dance“, display the influence of Herbie Hancock, especially in the “floating” piano chords and elongated melody lines.  Pay close attention on “Empathy” to the work of the rhythm section as the “freedom” in their playing resembles the work of Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams in the Miles Davis Quintet. Whereas, on the title track, one hears the funkier side of the band, not unlike the sounds of Hancock with Billy Hart or Robert Glasper with Chris Dave.

The program close with “Change the World“, the ballad that Eric Clapton had a world-wide hit with the mid-1990s.  Gibson et al don’t mess around with the handsome melody and his solo, the only one on the cut, cover a wide swath of sonic territory and is fairly emotional.  Again, the soloist locks in with the rhythm section, playing off their energy and cues.

This is one of trombonist David Gibson’s “working” bands (one features organist Jared Gold, along with trumpeter Evans and Abadey adding to Gold’s great organ sound) and most of them are part of Josh Evans Big Band.  They know each other and it shows.  “Boom!” has heart, soul, funk and fire; this music belongs in your life!  

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Nippertown reviews David Gibson “Boom!”…




In an effort to keep the momentum going from the last month of 2014, here’s some music you need to check out – either on your own, or on “Jazz2K @ The Saint”:


Between working with Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band and being the George Gee Swing Orchestra’s musical director, trombonist David Gibson has been plenty busy since his tasty 2011 Posi-tone release End of the Tunnel. That said, the Oklahoma native must have found a few minutes to scribble down some notes, because Boom! comes out of the chute like a Brahma bull on Red Bull and doesn’t let up for a second. That doesn’t mean it’s all pedal-to-the-metal like the hard-bopping “Eyes of Argus,” the swirling dervish title track or the charging opener “The High Road”; some of the best moments are the softer ones, like the loving ballad “The Dance” and Gibson’s joy-filled take on “Change the World.” What keeps this date’s emotional needle pinned in the red is Gibson’s choice to bring in two players who match his intensity volt for volt: Josh Evans’ trumpet has the kind of counter-punching power Freddie Hubbard delivered back in the day, and Theo Hill’s Trump-rich keyboard lines weave stunningly striking colors, be they acoustic on Gibson’s high-flying treatment of Tom McIntosh’s “The Cup Bearers” or electric on the sneaky-good “Grass Fed.” David Gibson may have been doing great work for others, but Boom! shows it’s time for him get out there and really blow his OWN horn!


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SomethingElse Reviews blows up the “High Road” from David Gibson’s new CD “Boom!”…




Mainstream jazz is always a pleasure to hear when it’s played with crisp vitality and that’s just what trombone player David Gibson brings to the table with his sixth album Boom!. Due out January 20, 2015 by Posi-Tone RecordsBoom! is comprised of mostly Gibson originals he wrote with members of his quintet in mind.

This 2003 Thelonius Monk International Trombone Competition finalist leads Josh Evans (trumpet), Theo Hill (piano), Alex Claffy (bass) and Kush Abadey (drums) through hard swinging numbers with a modern sensibility. That sort of tone is established right from the start, with the David Gibson number “The High Road.”

An unabashedly straight-ahead tune, “Road” features a snappy head and soon transitions into Gibson’s JJ Johnson-like solo. Evans and Hill respectively take their turns, too, and both deliver concise, energetic statements that don’t linger on too long.

David Gibson got the name of the song from trying to “convey the spirit of elevated enlightenment that offers a view of the destination, so as to avoid the petty arguments that litter the path.” There’s nothing littering the path of hard bop enlightenment here; it’s a straight-up jazz delight.


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Dan Bilawsky reviews David Gibson “Boom!” for All About Jazz…




Trombonist David Gibson’s Boom!—his sixth leader date, and third release on the Posi-Tone imprint—is something of a fresh start. His two previous releases—A Little Somethin’ (Posi-Tone, 2009) and End Of The Tunnel (Posi-Tone, 2011)—were cut from the same cloth, as each largely focused on funk, soul jazz, and swing; both albums also featured the same quartet—Gibson on trombone, Julius Tolentino on alto saxophone, labelmateJared Gold on organ, and Quincy Davis on drums. Now, Gibson returns with a new group—a winning quintet—that’s more interested in straight-ahead statements than head-bobbing constructs.

Some of the material presented here, along with the men that present it, brings out the bolder side of Gibson. The trombonist allies himself with intrepid players like trumpeterJosh Evans, who occasionally carries the fire of Freddie Hubbard and the spirit ofWoody Shaw in his horn, and pianist Theo Hill, who works his way through this music with firm-handed brilliance. Then there’s the steady-as-a-rock bass work of Alex Claffy and the swinging-turned-swatting drums of Kush Abadey to contend with. When all five men fire on all cylinders, (“The High Road” and “Eyes Of Argus”), the results are breathtaking. But strength doesn’t define this group. This is a quintet that’s just as likely to float (“The Dance”), create a vibe tune (“Grass Fed”), or move with a spring in its step (“Persephone”) as it is to muscle its way through a piece.

Gibson wrote eight of the ten songs on this record, covering everything from edgy burners to groove music (“Boom!”), but he chose to close the album with a pair of dissimilar covers—”The Cupbearers,” a jazz standard that’s often associated with pianist Tommy Flanagan, and “Change The World,” a pop piece that Eric Clapton and Babyface delivered to the masses. The former cooks and kicks while the latter moves slowly, closing out the album in earthy fashion.

Gibson’s organ group always delivered good time sounds with heart and soul, but this quintet is a step above that band. This group brings out the best in his playing and his music, emphasizing the might and musicality in his work.

Track Listing: The High Road; Rare Truth; Grass Fed; Eyes Of Argus; Persephone; Empathy; Boom!; The Dance; The Cup Bearers; Change The World.

Personnel: David Gibson: trombone; Josh Evans: trumpet; Theo Hill: piano; Alex Claffy: bass; Kush Abadey: drums.


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Bop n Jazz goes “Boom!” for David Gibson…




David Gibson is back with a retro swing and arguably one of 2014’s finest releases!
Posi-Tone may well be one of the strongest if not the strongest straight ahead labels. Boom! is an elegant yet wildly sophisticated swing that will hit you right between the eyes. The sound is reminiscent of the working bands that started a grand tradition on the Blue Note and Impulse labels before both eventually bailed on the traditional sound for the more pretentious “look at me!” sound of today.
The compositions here are mostly originals with Gibson having written eight of the ten tunes. These numbers are percussive, lyrically intense and have evolving dynamics that only serve to highlight the blatantly obvious fact that Gibson is as solid a trombone player as you will find working the straight ahead side of the street. “The High Road” with the classic retro swing vibe is an immediate attention grabber along with “Boom” and “The Dance.”
The quintet assembled includes Josh Evans on trumpet, Theo Hill on piano, Alex Claffy on bass and Kush Abadey on drums. Over the years the sound of the more traditional working band has given way to that of a leader and a 4tet of after thoughts. The second horn of Evans adds power while the remaining rhythm section adds the clarity of swing, it smolders. Simply put, Boom! can set your hair on fire if you let it!


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Another fine review for David Gibson “End of the Tunnel”…

If a musical chain is as strong as the weakest link this is one tight unit. With a stellar 4tet made up of Julius Tolentino on alto saxophone along with organ phenom Jared Gold and Quincy Davis on drums we have but another funk infused soulful jazz outing from David Gibson. End Of The Tunnel may be the perfect bookend to A Little Somethin’ (Posi-Tone, 2009). This formidable 4tet is beginning to take on that classic working band feel from the mid 1960’s with Gibson’s buoyant swing leading the charge.
Gold is an absolute standout on End Of The Tunnel serving as the perfect musical counterpoint for Gibson. As solid a release as you can find from Gibson or in the Posi-Tone discography there is soulful quality, an innate sound from the inner reaches of a musician that go well past playing from the heart. The cohesion between Gold and Gibson is nothing short of inspiring, especially on the more soulful tune “Preachin'” which is a Jared Gold original. The variety that embodies this release is deceptively subtle with the Herbie Hancock tune “Blind Man, Blind Man” kicking things off which may be one of the best examples of what some refer to as soul-jazz. Closing with a nice layer of texture to this outing is the Jackie McLean tune “Blue Rondo” which showcases the straight ahead lyrical swing of Davis. One of the more infectious pieces featured from Gibson is funk oriented tune “Wasabi” where again Gold is the musical yin to Gibson’s yang. Musical brothers from a different mother.
David Gibson is the living embodiment of the searching artist. Does he reinvent the musical wheel here? No…He does not have to but instead takes a soulful sound most musicians could work a career trying to find and he simply pushes the music forward with a quartet that is as tight as they come. David Gibson gives a masterclass in performance on End Of The Tunnel and proves despite reports of its demise that real swing, that groove you can use is far from dead.