Terry Gibbs: What's New
Terry Gibbs (vibes)
Feelin' Good: Live in Studio (Mack Avenue MAC 1022)
Gerry Gibbs (drums).
Composed by Johnny Burke & Robert Haggart.
Recorded: live at O'Henry Studios, Burbank, CA, 2005
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
When a superior jazz musician has played a particular standard as his ballad feature over many years, he can enhance and refine his approach until his performance becomes a thing of rare beauty and a privilege to hear. Such is the case with Terry Gibbs and "What's New," recorded live in the studio before a small group of invited guests. Tenorman Eric Alexander and guitarist Dan Faehnle sat this one out, and are probably heard applauding wildly at the track's conclusion along with everyone else.
DeFrancesco's silky intro and astute accompaniment, and the slick rhythmic support of Terry's son Gerry's brushes, offer Terry the perfect framework. The vibraphonist's vibrato and resultant sound reminds one of Lionel Hampton, who once asked Gibbs to join his band, an idea Hamp's wife/manager Gladys vetoed. Gibbs exhibits flawless technique, and his long phrases and harmonic development are both quite impressive, especially in the double-timed midsection of his solo, as well as in his dazzling coda. The ever-exuberant Gibbs was then 80, yet another jazz octogenarian aging like fine wine and not slowing down. The titles (and pace) of two of his originals on this session bear that out: "Smoke 'Em Up" and "Hot Rod." But "What's New" is undeniably the standout track.
Reviewer: Scott Albin