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David Gibson: Inner Agent

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The tuxedoed, sunglasses-clad, cocktail-nursing David Gibson in Inner Agent’s CD-gatefold photo evokes not the James Bond type that the title suggests but the laidback cool of the Rat Pack. That’s not what the trombonist’s postbop music brings to mind, though. Gibson’s seventh album is certainly hip, but it teems with restless energy, freshness and, except for one awkward cover, inspiration.

Nobody, for example, could fairly call “The Scythe” laidback, with its zigzag melody and Gibson’s itchy harmonies alongside saxophonists Doug Webb and Caleb Curtis. Ditto the ants-in-the-pants take on Curtis Fuller’s “The Court,” where trumpeter Freddie Hendrix’s solo dances with abandon and Gibson shadowboxes in staccato salvos. “Axe Grinder” combines two brands of rhythmic intensity: The rhythm section (pianist Theo Hill, bassist Alexander Claffy, drummer Kush Abadey) establishes a funk swerve-with a hint of ska-for the theme, then charges into swing for the solos by Hendrix (who channels Freddie Hubbard), Gibson and Hill.

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