(Artists: Terry Gibbs, vibes; Hubert Laws, flute; Dan Faehnle, guitar; Tom Rainier, piano; Hamilton Price, bass; Gerry Gibbs, drums; Joan Carroll, vocals)
The idea for Terry Gibbs’ latest CD came after special guest, Hubert Laws, joined Gibbs and his band for a club performance at Steamers, a southern California jazz club. Their shared positive experience that night lead to the idea of recording a joint CD in the studio with a hand picked rhythm section. This rhythm section is made up of LA painist, Tom Rainier, guitarist Dan Faehnle, Gibbs’ son, Gerry, on drums, and bassist Hamilton Price, who regularly gigs with Gerry Gibbs’ band in San Antonio.
Gibbs wrote the arrangements for 30 songs but narrowed down his choices to the 13 tracks featured on Findin’ the Groove. The “Groove” was found and the fact that the band only rehearsed one day before this March 9, 2006 recording date is remarkable as they sound like they had been playing together for years. Obvious credit must be given to Gibbs for his arrangements as they are chiefly responsible for the band’s tight ensemble feel.
Whether it’s the blues of Wednesday at Two, where Laws cuts loose, the title cut with its lilting Caribbean melody, or the Gershwin standard, But Not for Me, arranged for vocalist, Joan Carroll, this is feel good music. Dan Faehnle, formerly of the Pacific Northwest, but now a Midwest transplant, gets some nice solo time on the syncopated Sammy Cahn composition, Teach Me Tonight as does Rainier whose blues solo sets the stage for some choruses by the great Laws on flute.
Benny Golson’s staple, Killer Joe, is played initially as a bossa nova and then more straight ahead. Gibbs has 5 self penned tunes on the CD and it is tough to pick a favorite, but if you pushed me, I’d choose either Dance with the Brushes, a feature for Laws and the junior Gibbs; or Samaba Wazoo, where Laws and the senior Gibbs are off to the races. The band also has a ball with Gibbs’ arrangement of of Jimmy Giuffre’s Four Brothers, where Gibbs rearranges the original Woody Herman 1947 big band Giuffre chart.
Special mention should be made of George Horn, who mastered this CD at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Horn had mastered all 6 of Gibbs Dream Band recordings in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, for which Gibbs is most known. Gibbs’ professionalism is to be admired for bringing together an untested band and providing them with super arrangements and cutting 13 tracks in a single day in the studio. It’s “Findin’ the Groove” that quickly takes real class.
Songs: Bernie’s Tune, Wednesday at Two, Findin’ the Groove, But Not for Me, Teach Me Tonight, Killer Joe, Dance With the Brushes, Samba Wazoo, The House That Might Have Been, Four Brothers, Take My Blues Away, Wee(a.k.a. Allen’s Alley), One Minute and 45 Seconds to Station Break
– Jeff Krow