Frank Gibson Quartet: Rainbow Bridge
By Bruce Morley
Although it's been far too long since drummer Frank Gibson's previous album as a leader, he's still the benchmark for drummers in this country. Recently he visited Melbourne to record with three young turks - Sam Keevers, piano; Matt Clohesy, bass; Jamie Oehlers, tenor sax - and the result is a damn good jazz album, a worthy addition to Gibson's 'Space Case', 'Dr Tree' and 'Jazzmobile' canon. Graham Reid's liner notes provide as good a capsule history of Gibson as you're likely to find anywhere, and the sounds create a present-day musical portrait. The highly-regarded Oehlers takes care of business on tenor while the rhythm section (the jazz trio being Gibson's natural habitat), plays the pants off a hip repertoire of compositions by Thelonious Monk, Sam Rivers, Wayne Shorter, Lennie Tristano and Ornette Coleman, plus a smattering of originals and John La Touche's often-overlooked but beautiful Lazy Afternoon. The opener, Tristano's Lennie's Pennies, serves notice that the group mean business, with bassist Clohesy particularly impressive, (not too many since Andy Brown have kept up with Frank.). Pianist Keever has his radar full on in Coleman's Happy House (check his instant responses), but the track that best sums up the album is Gibson's own Rosie My Dear, a seven-minute four-way musical conversation during which the group constantly reshapes and reinvents itself. Available on Ode Records.