This U.K. quintet—Gibbs on trumpet plus tenor man Riley Stone-Lonergan, pianist Rob Brockway, bassist Calum Gourlay, and drummer Jay Davis—crashes into the opener, “Internal Conflict,” with enough volume and swagger for a big band. “Happy Hour” rides a warmer, mellower groove, friendly brass and sweetly buzzed sax crossing each other on the head melody. Gibbs solos, flipping from his own sweet to his own sassy; Stone-Lonergan manages to sound casual, even pushing ahead of the beat.
“Mary” could be someone loved, someone lost, someone remembered, even someone imagined. Gibbs takes charge here; Stone-Lonergan and Gourlay solo in simple but heartfelt figures. “The Grand Parade” finds both horns blaring anew as Gourlay and Davis push from beneath. The tenor leapfrogs octaves, swinging through ideas like Tarzan on vines. Gibbs shakes hands with the last notes of Stone-Lonergan’s solo before adding his own, cycling denser, busier lines. Then Brockway, more contemplative, a stream rushing heedless of all else.
Throughout, Gibbs’ tunes prove supple and deceptively simple, requiring repeated listens to appreciate that simplicity and the underlying complexities—all the rehearsals, recitals, and headspace it took to get to something so matter-of-factly fine. We’ve got this tendency in loud Yankeeland to dismiss our jazz compatriots across that wide pond. We do so, clearly, at our own peril and with the confirmation of our own waxed-over ears. These fellows—braced with the blues, steeped in the swing classics, burnished with modernity—are going places.