Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Michael Gibbs' album with Bill Frisell & NDR Bigband on NPR

NPR recently featured Michael Gibbs and Bill Frisell's new big band release during the Fresh Air segment. The piece included a great review by Kevin Whitehead and plenty of soundbyte previews of the Bill Frisell curated tracklist.

"Some Frisell fans grumble that with all his rootsy Americana projects, he doesn't record much jazzy jazz these days. For them, there's the new CD "Michael Gibbs & The NDR Bigband Play A Bill Frisell Setlist." 

There is certainly no shortage of "Jazzy Jazz" on the record; from straight-ahead Frisell tunes to a classic Monk composition, the NDR Bigband blasts its way along, with jazz composer, arranger and educator Michael Gibbs at the helm. Once you finish the last track, you can keep the Bigband going with Gibbs' simultaneous release, "In My View," a brilliant outlet for a choice selection of his numerous compositions that span nearly half a century. Once you have parsed through both works, pleasant similarities between the two begin to strike. Anything Gibbs touches seems to gain a layer of luscious textures that veil the asymmetrical motifs he sneaks in.

Michael Gibbs grew up in South Africa before relocating to England, where he still spends most of his time. However, Gibbs was teaching at Berklee College of Music for part of the 70's, and received Frisell as a student. The connection was sparked long ago, but the musical relationship is still burning bright.