The 29th of Jon Turney’s weekly selection (introduced HERE) is a blast from Mike Gibbs, taking it back home.
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Anything Mike Gibbs had a hand in is worth listening to, but extra points for this one, 20 years ago, which featured him revelling in the resources of two different line-ups courtesy of the now sadly quiescent Provocateur records. The one that really stands out is the US ensemble. That’s not because the NDR big band, who take care of the rest of the tracks, aren’t great, just that the US line-up is so powerful.
This rousing anthem from Gibbs’ home turf is a brief exercise that demonstrates his love of a big sound. Has there ever been a richer rendition of this style? The solidity of the fanfares here makes Paul Simon’s Graceland outfit sound positively anaemic.
Gil Goldstein’s accordion flourishes and Hiram Bullock’s guitar complement the massed horns. Add the way Steve Swallow (who else?) nails the bassline, Randy Brecker emerges from the mix for some back-and-forth with the other horns and the whole ensemble playing as if possessed. Result: 5.33 of pure joy. There’s a lot of overlap personnel-wise with Carla Bley and later Gil Evans bands, but it’s hard to imagine either of them doing anything like it. This is all Gibbs.