by Mark Corroto
Easily mistaken for a Blue Note session of the 1960s (and that’s just fine), the latest by trombonist David Gibson delivers a solid buoyant session of burners. Except for the classic “April In Paris,” all the music was written by the trombonist or a a band member. The presence of organist Jared Gold ramps up the energy considerably. His sound competes with each other instrument for space, forcing that macho bebop favored by trombonist Curtis Fuller, drummer Elvin Jones and trumpeter Lee Morgan.
Gibson is not adverse to the muscular attack. He and alto saxophonist Julius Tolentino manage a front line that sounds as if there were double the two horns heard. Perhaps it is their choice of this more audacious bebop that fuels the recording. They certainly go for popular attention with the funky “Hot Sauce,” which comes straight out of saxophonist Tom Scott’s bag of the late 1970s and jam-sound of “In The Loop.” But mostly this record is about solid swing and small group dynamics, all captured with a burning intensity.
To read or listen to some of the commentary about jazz and hear that this genre of music is dying; to read with cynicism that artists are either playing music that is 50 years old or they are playing something so “catchy” and “mainstream,” that it is a “stretch of the imagination” to even call it jazz. This is all over the place. One listen to trombonist David Gibson ‘s A Little Somethin’ serves as proof that the people who share that opinion of jazz aren’t looking—or listening—in the right place.
Gibson was a finalist in the first Thelonious Monk Competition that featured trombone. His debut as a bandleader was on Maya (Nagel-Hayer Records, 2003). His associations over the years include work with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Band, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Wayne Escoffery and Randy Brecker, among many others. On A Little Somethin’, he is accompanied by alto saxophonist Julius Tolentino , organist Jared Gold and drummer Quincy Davis.
“The Cobbler” is an upbeat, playful piece. Saxophone and trombone are in unison during the melody. Gold and Davis, the latter punctuating phrases with rim shots, back Gibson’s solo. The beat continues during Tolentino’s solo. Gold solo is as well, accompanied only by Davis.
“Hot Sauce” is as its name implies. This spicy selection features a duet lead by Gold and Tolentino, with Gibson providing fills early on. Davis goes solo briefly during the bridge. On the second pass, Gibson joins the lead. Tolentino delivers a funky, Maceo Parker -flavored alto solo. Gibson follows. Gold puts the organ through some stunning paces. At times, it is discordant, but it is intense throughout.
Gibson wrote five of the original songs, on this fine album, while Gold contributed two and Tolentino composed one. With upbeat tempos, perfect unison passages and spicy grooves. < em>A Little Somethin’ sure is new jazz with an old-school feel.