Keith Clarke describes the performance in Tenby on October 8…
“We were promised the John Gibbon Trio for the regular Tenby Jazz Lunch at the Imperial Hotel, but four musicians turned up (must be inflation) and no one was complaining. Joining drummer John Gibbon were saxophonist Glen Manby, keyboard player Ross Hicks and Don Sweeney on double bass.
“Merthyr-born Gibbon recently celebrated a double anniversary – his 70th birthday and 50 years since he turned professional. It’s quite an achievement for a self-taught musician who used to make his living playing drums for pantomime in London theatre pit orchestras. Perhaps it was pantomime that gave Gibbon his presentational style of woefully laboured jokes, but the moment he put down the mike and picked up the drumsticks you knew you were in the hands of a master.
“If his brush work was smooth and his stick work sharp, he was also able to surprise by throwing off the snares and attacking the drums with his hands, bongo style, the hi-hat tapping out the rhythm.
“Glen Manby taught at Cardiff University School of Music for 21 years and his fluid sax playing boasts a beautiful elasticity and rich tone. Looking cool with long hair and a bandana, bassist Don Sweeney put in some nicely understated solos of great musicality, and the fleet-fingered Ross Hicks dazzled at the Yamaha keyboard.
“Repertoire ranged around the Great American Songbook and some well-loved numbers turned up with adjusted titles in Gibbon’s introductions, like ‘I’m Getting Semi-Mental Over You’ – and dedicated to the bass player when they would get to the bar, the song that Duke Ellington almost called ‘I don’t get a round much anymore’.”
The next Jazz Lunch features New Moonshine Boulevard on November 19, a week later than normal as organiser Chris Osborne is busy with the Tenby Blues Festival the week before.