Feelin' Good: Live in Studio
Mack Avenue Records
The ever-exuberant vibist Terry Gibbs leads an all-star combo in front of an invited studio audience on this disc. At 80, he displays the same cheerful, ringing sound with which he led his much-loved Dream Band in the late '50s and early '60s.
His chops-endowed crew includes tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, guitarist Dan Faehnle, organist Joey DeFrancesco, drummer (and son) Gerry Gibbs and conga player Ray Armando. While they could produce a mean jam session on their own, Gibbs has taken the extra step of written intros, heads and endings-definitely an asset to the enjoyment of this set dominated by hot tempos and blues tunes. On "Wave" Gibbs employs a swing beat, with strategic jabs by DeFrancesco, instead of the customary bossa nova. Similarly, on "Misty," he grooves at medium tempo instead of a ballad tempo.
Throughout the session Alexander blows with suppleness reminiscent of George Coleman and Sonny Stitt and broad tonal reminders of Dexter Gordon. Faehnle recalls Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery. Gerry Gibbs shines on a Gene Krupa-like, "Sing, Sing, Sing"-influenced version of "St. Louis Blues." DeFrancesco, like the leader, always provides a spark.