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Terry Gibbs/Buddy DeFranco: Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco Play Steve Allen

Vibist Terry Gibbs and clarinetist Buddy DeFranco have teamed up again, this time on 13 engaging charts written by Steve Allen and arranged by Gibbs. The style varies from energized Latin to lyrically romantic, but every track swings strongly because of the co-leaders’ mutual virtuosity and brilliance. Although most listeners, even rabid Allen fans, probably won’t recognize these songs, they have the feel and form of Great American Songbook classics, such as “Sleepy Old Moon,” an easy-moving melody written in ’40s swing style and enhanced by Tom Ranier’s piano. The pair’s time-tested ability to harmonize at breakneck speed without sounding frantically hurried is proven on “Mister Moon” and “Until I Left Chicago (I Never Had the Blues).” Gibbs’ legendary Uzi-speed mallets are showcased on “I Used to Think That I Was Crazy,” while DeFranco cuts loose on “Clarinet Lick.” Infectious syncopation from bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Gerry Gibbs, Terry’s son, propels “Alabama Bound.” For a change in pace, there’s the relaxing “Lazy Days” and two lovely ballads, “One Little Thing” and “Nights in Madrid.” This one will please longtime swing fanciers and younger retro fans alike.

Originally Published