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David Gibson: The Path to Delphi

On his second album as a leader, trombonist David Gibson has grown as a writer, arranger and soloist. These nine original pieces have titles that refer to characters in Greek mythology, all of them representing a personal search for freedom, according to the trombonist. This doesn’t refer to rhythm or chordal freedom so much as the ability to create in an uninhibited manner, and the quintet reacts accordingly.

Six songs find Gibson sharing the front line with Wayne Escoffery, who plays soprano sax exclusively. (Randy Brecker plays trumpet on the other three.) The distance in range between the two instruments is bridged by Gibson’s incisive arrangements, which place them in similar melodic areas. “Persephone” opens with a low, undulating melody while “Eidolon” has the stop-on-a-dime speed of the mid-’60s Miles Davis Quintet. Likewise, Gibson exploits the entire register of his horn during some lengthy, well-developed solos like “Icarian Sea.” On “Serpents of Hera” and “The Oracle Within” he tongues some fast lines with ease.

The Path to Delphi leans heavily on midtempo material, which makes the strong points easy to miss on first examination. Pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Joe Strasser keep things lively, but next time out maybe Gibson will try a different path by auditioning some different tempos.

Originally Published