May 24, 2024

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CD review: Gerry Gibbs & Thrasher People – Family – 2023: Video, CD cover

Drummer, composer and bandleader Gerry Gibbs, nicknamed Thrasher (“Thresher”), has been working with Neil Weiss’ independent label Whaling City Sound for a very long time and very fruitfully.

His latest work here was the big double album Songs From My Father (2021), an epic tribute to the work of his father, famed vibraphonist Terry Geebs. Here the music of Gibbs Sr. in a trio format with Gerry was played by such giants of jazz as Chick Corea, Ron Carter, Kenny Baron and others. Earlier this year, the amazing album The Terry Gibbs Songbook appeared, featuring 98-year-old Terry and, of course, Gerry himself, the inspiration and soul of this project. And now Whaling City Sound offers jazz lovers a new author’s work by Gerry Gibbs within the framework of the GerryGibbsThrasherPeople project, also a very voluminous double album (more than two hours of sound) called Family.

What kind of family did Gerry Gibbs have? In his travels across America, Gerry discovered a whole group of talented and ambitious musicians in San Antonio, Texas, who became part of the Thresher people for this project. These are wind players Eric Hargett and Gerry Espinoza, bassist James Suter and guitarist Tommy Howard. A little later, the outstanding vocalist Michelle Gabey Carey joined them. The Texas Low Budget Orchestra “borrowed” their string players and horn player for the recording. This is how the album was recorded.

Neil Weiss was impressed by the work of the musicians and agreed to release a double album, which included more than two dozen tracks, an amalgam of classical standards and author’s stuff. Of course, there were a lot of bright episodes in such a large program. I remember the cheerful Latin-Caribbean theme of The Caribbean Song, the composition with the optimistic name Everything Must Change, the blues-flavored tempo composition Pickin’Up The Pieces, the ironic finale of the album called The Band of Losers, the unexpected rap from Tommy Howard in Directions/Roll Call. Of course, Michelle Gabey Carey’s vocal parts graced the program, especially in Song for My Father and My Favorite Things. However, I found the program to be somewhat lengthy. Perhaps the album would have only won if Jerry Jeebs had made a tougher selection and limited himself to one disc. But the skill of the performers and their teamwork, of course, do not cause doubts: Gerry Gibbs Thrasher People with a Texas accent did not spoil the leader’s discography with this already thirteenth album on Whaling City Sound.

1 Song For My Father (4:41)
2 Cold Duck Time (4:50)
3 My Favorite Things (7:03)
4 Betcha By Golly Wow (6:14)
5 Pick Up The Pieces (7:06)
6 We Live in Brooklyn Baby/Everybody Loves the Sunshine (6:30)
7 Sightseeing/Mr Gone (5:05)
8 Hackensack (5:46)
9 The Caribbean Song (5:22)
10 Dream Journey (6:04)
11 Directions/Roll Call (3:18)
12 Fantasy (5:52)
13 Road Trip (5:30)
14 Everything Must Change (7:53)
15 Smells Like Teen Spirit (5:32)
16 Living For the City/Overjoyed (6:49)
17 Firm Roots (4:37)
18 Friends Forever (5:14)
19 Routines On The Road (4:29)
20 The Final Message (6:45)
21 The Band of Losers (5:40)

Gerry Gibbs – dr, perc, Hammond B-3 org, ac.p; Michelle Garibay Carey – voc, perc, background org; Jerry Espinoza – ss, as, ts, fl, piccolo, perc, background org; Eric Hargett – ss, ts, bars, bass cl, perc, background org; Tommy Howard – el.g, ac.g, slide g, rapper, perc; James Suter – ac.b, perc.

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher People: Family – ArkivMusic

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