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April 2007

Garry Gibbs and The Thrasher Big Band
Live at Luna
Whaling City Sound

Drummer Gerry Gibbs is the son of the famous vibist-bandleader Terry Gibbs, and like his dad, fronts an exciting big band. His is composed of superior players from San Antonio and Austin, Texas. In this live recording, the band performs a varied set of charts that, with the exception of one Bill Holman arrangement, were composed or arranged by the drummer himself, including Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” and Randy Brecker’s “Some Skunk Funk.”

As an example of Gibbs’ personal imprint on his music, the opening “The Caribbean Song,” a medium-up riff chart, features an unusual form (AABAABCAB), a flavor of the islands, and blues solos that might be considered orthodox were they not performed on piccolo and electric tenor saxophone.

Although the soloists are not as familiar as their counterparts in New York and Los Angeles, the caliber of their playing is commensurate with that of the big city folks. They display the technical proficiency of seasoned professionals in their contemporary hard bop/postbop improvisations. In addition to supplying a vocalese on “Maiden Voyage,” Joan Carroll renders an affecting reading of the lovely ballad “You’ve Changed” and swings buoyantly on Holman’s version of Steve Allen’s “Playing the Field.”

Originally published in April 2007
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