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Terry Gibbs: Findin’ the Groove

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Hubert Laws sat in one night with Gibbs’ band in a California club (their first time playing together), and they hit it off so well they decided to record together. The 82-year-old Gibbs arranged all 13 tunes for the CD, including seven originals. His son Gerry, on drums, brought in bassist Hamilton Price and singer Joan Carroll. Pianist Tom Ranier and guitarist Dan Faehnle (formerly with Diana Krall) complete the group.

There’s a communal feel to this tight band, with no extended solos and nearly equal solo space for all on most cuts. Gibbs plays with his usual enthusiasm and intensity. Laws displays his majestic sound, technical brilliance and wealth of ideas, as well as a swinging pulse that may surprise listeners only hip to his more commercial ventures. Ranier and Faehnle are fine players and the Price-Gerry-Gibbs tandem offers solid, tasteful support. Carroll acquits herself well on two features, “But Not for Me” and especially “The House That Might Have Been,” a wonderful Gibbs ballad with a lovely Arthur Hamilton lyric (first recorded on Gibbs’ Hamp tribute From Me to You).

Gibbs’ other originals are also outstanding. “Dance With the Brushes” was inspired by Neil Hefti’s “Cute” as a feature for Gerry’s polished brushwork. “Wednesday at Two” and “Take My Blues Away” (the latter reminiscent of Kenny Burrell’s “Blues for Del”) are catchy blues. “Samba Wazoo” and “Findin’ the Groove” are other standouts, with fun changes to play on. Jimmy Giuffre’s “Four Brothers” and Denzil Best’s “Wee” get heated rides, with splendid exchanges between Gibbs and Laws on “Wee.” “Bernie’s Tune” and “Killer Joe” are also well arranged and played.

In other words, you get your money’s worth here-67:07 of music to be exact!