Trombonist David Gibson arrived in New York in 1999 and wasted no time making his presence felt. Work with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Big Band,Slide Hampton, the Hot Pants Funk Sextet and a string of leader dates for Nagel-Heyer Records helped to cement his reputation in the New York jazz community and beyond. A Little Somethin’ is Gibson’s recording debut for Posi-Tone Records and features his working band, with the unique instrumentation of trombone, alto saxophone, organ and drums.
The nine tracks on this album are just as much of a showcase for Gibson’s writing as they are for his playing. Two Gibson originals start the album and set the tone. “The Cobbler” is an inviting, mid-paced tune with a swing-meets-Latin undercurrent that serves as a fitting introduction to this group. Gibson’s funk experience comes into play on “Hot Sauce,” as the quartet turns up the heat. Organist Jared Gold stirs this soulful musical stew while drummer Quincy Davis lays down some firm and funky beats behind him. Alto saxophonist Julius Tolentino takes the first solo and wastes no time making his mark. Gibson and Gold follow with some equally captivating responses.
“April in Paris” is the album’s lone standard. Tolentino takes the lion’s share of the tune after a quick run-through of the melody, with both horn players getting a chance to shine. Gibson and company choose to keep this one simmering rather than bringing it to a boil, and things quietly fade away in the end. Gibson’s “French Press” shines a spotlight on Davis as he trades eight’s with various members of the group toward the track’s end, while “The Seraph’s Smile” begins with a brief, gospel-inspired organ solo before the other musicians settle in for the ride. Gibson feeds off the vibe that the rest of the band creates as he contributes a captivating, soulful solo statement.
In addition to showcasing Gibson’s writing talents, A Little Somethin’features a pair of pieces from Gold and one from Tolentino. The brash, adrenaline-fueled funk of “In The Loop” begins with a wild organ riff and features some extroverted soloing from Gibson, and fun and farout organ soloing from Gold. Gold’s other contribution, “This End Up!,” is a mellow, hip-swaggering tune that prominently features Tolentino. Sandwiched between these tracks is the altoist’s “One for Jackie,” underscored by a gentle, lilting groove and hints of Brazil in the background. The album ends with the title track—a slow-cooking, swing tune that seems to give a nod toward organ groups of yesteryear and serves as a fitting finale.