Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio – We’re Back – Whaling City Sounds wcs 069, 75:04 (Distr. by Naxos) ***1/2:
(Kenny Barron – piano; Ron Carter – bass; Gerry Gibbs – drums. With special guests: Steve Wilson – saxophones (#5, 9); Larry Goldings – Hammond B-3 organ (#2, 7); Warren Wolf – vibes (#2, 6, 7, 11, 12); Kyeshie Gibbs – wind chimes, rain stick, African bells)
Gerry Gibbs’ Thrasher Dream Trio’s initial release was highly successful. How could it not be when the dream trio included Kenny Barron and Ron Carter?
Wanting to get back into the studio was a wise decision but coming up with a concept CD (with guest artists) took a bit of contemplation. The group decided to make a CD of R&B and soul tunes from the 60s and 70s, but keeping the original chord changes and changing only the rhythms to give them a jazz feel. Warren Wolf (vibes), Larry Goldings (Hammond B-3), and Steve Wilson (alto and soprano sax) were added as guests artists, as well as Gerry’s wife, Kyeshie, on percussion. Song selection is first rate and includes classic tunes by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and The Average White Band.
Listening to We’re Back, I found that the seven tracks with added instrumentation gave more spice to the mix than the straight trio tracks as these well-remembered radio favorites needed the “additional punch” that vibes, organ, and saxophones add. Goldings’ Hammond on”What’s Going On,” and “My Cherie Amour” broaden the appeal as does the addition of vibes to “Betcha by Golly, Wow.” (A full horn section would really have sold Thomas Bell’s theme.)
On the trio numbers, Kenny Barron nails the piano theme on Stevie Wonder’s “Too High.” Gerry Gibbs’ cymbal work is fully in the groove here as well. I’ll never tire of “What’s Going On” and Warren Wolf has the famous melody fully in hand as he takes lead on the recognizable theme. I kept expecting to hear a vocalist on “Where is the Love” due to fond memories of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway making this tune famous. Kenny Barron’s sprightly piano suffices admirably.
Warren Wolf and Larry Goldings team up on “My Cherie Amour” and the vibes/Hammond combo work well with the relaxed groove. Burt Bacharach’s “I Say a Little Prayer” is well done in the hands of Gibbs and Barron. Ron Carter is featured on the AWB hit, “Pick Up the Pieces,” as he and Barron play well off each other as the tempo gets ratcheted up with Carter in high gear, while Gibbs has a hot extended drum solo.
Old school R&B fans who also dig jazz will like this Thrasher Dream Trio CD…
TrackList: Too High,What’s Going On, Where is the Love, Reasons, Mighty Mighty, Betcha by Golly, Wow, My Cherie Amour, Creepin’, Fantasy, Living for the City/ Overjoyed, Brazilian Rhyme, Runnin’, I Say a Little Prayer, Pick Up the Pieces, The Theme