Tom Gibbs

Fear Of Flying

(Whirlwind)

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Pianist Tom Gibbs is the latest Scottish jazz musician to be championed by the admirably go-ahead London-based Whirlwind label, and his highly attractive first release shows him earning every right to be considered among the illustrious company this association puts him in. Gibbs can wear his influences on his sleeve at times. The first part of Rebecca's Song is very much in the style of his mentor, the great English pianist John Taylor, and The Smile That Never Forgets suggests long and deep immersion in Brad Mehldau's glorious Highway Rider album. But there's no criticism intended in this and, as he does elsewhere, Gibbs develops the original ideas into something entirely his own. His musicians – New York-based saxophonist Will Vinson, top London drummer James Maddren and homeboy Euan Burton (bass) – respond to Gibbs's writing and superbly marshalled soloing with alert imaginations, creating a lovely balance between cool, thoughtful playing and hot urgency while never losing sight of the compositions' essential melodiousness and thoughtfully conceived structures.

Rob Adams