David Gibson - End of the Tunnel (2011)


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The sweet, liquid and brassy sound of a trombone has been a major cog in the jazz machine since around its inception, bigger at some times more than at others. These days, it doesn't enjoy the stature and popularity it used to, and I often wonder why when I listen to a record by, say, Curtis Fuller or a fresher face like Michael Dease.

Add David Gibson to that too-small group of the current generation of trombone players. The former Oklahoman found his place in New York's jazz scene via a finalist finish in the Thelonius Monk International Trombone Competition in 2003. Since then, he's performed with Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, and other heavy hitters. He's also led several dates since 2002, the first three being some straightforward, all-acoustic bop dates. But things changed when he brought in organist Jared Gold for his fourth album, A Little Somethin' (2009).

His newest release End Of The Tunnel brings back the same personnel from Somethin': Gold, Julius Tolentino (alto sax), and Quincy Davis (drums), exploring the little-used pairing of trombone with organ. He begins the album with a bugaloo reading of Herbie Hancock's early RnB-styled number “Blind Man, Blind Man," and ends it with Jackie McLean's simmering blues-bop of “Blue Rondo." In between it's all Gibson's self-penned compositions, ranging from the modern, urbane funk of “Wasabi" to the devotional tones of “Preachin.'"

This is very generous leader, allowing Tolentino's Lou Donaldson's liquid soul expression come to fore, and Gold, who gained a huge measure of respect for All Wrapped Up from earlier this year, proves that stellar performance was no fluke. He channels Dr. Lonnie Smith but with more reserve, on “Blind Man," or Larry Young on “Sunday Morning."

Gibson himself calls to mind Fuller, but has a certain discerning articulation that's his own. He's on to something with the trombone/sax/organ/drums format, but solid performances and a consistently strong set of tunes that sound distinct from each other sure helps matters, too. End Of The Tunnel, on the streets May 31, comes courtesy of Posi-Tone Records. You can check out Mr. Gibson's website here.

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