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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Feelin’ Good

Live in the Studio
Mack Avenue MAC 1022



  1. Smoke ‘Em Up
  2. Things Ain’t What They used to Be
  3. Misty
  4. This Masquerade
  5. And That’s Why It’s Called the Blues
  6. St Louis Blues
  7. Wave
  8. Waltz Rubiot
  9. Hey Jim
  10. What’s New
  11. Sugar
  12. Hot Rod

Terry Gibbs – Vibraphone
Joey DeFrancesco – Hammond B3
Eric Alexander – Tenor
Dan Faehnle – Guitar
Gerry Gibbs – Drums
Ray Armando – Congas

This album is the real deal as far as jazz is concerned, octagerian Terry Gibbs put together a band of people he wanted to play with, some of whom he had never met and went off down to the studio! His choice of partners is immaculate, Eric Alexander is one of my all time favourite tenor players and Joey DeFrancesco on Hammond B3 organ, has the same joy in playing which the leader has exhibited in his 60 year long career in jazz.

Terry Gibbs has done it all, from being a star of the Woody Herman Band to being MD of the Steve Allen show. Throughout his career he has brought great joy to audiences around the world, even Benny Goodman, who reportedly was never entirely satisfied with anyone, found him an ideal replacement for Lionel Hampton! There can be no higher praise!

From a personal point of view, I have little time for so called jazzmen who are only capable of performing in a very narrow sector of the music. Eric Alexander is a player who is happy in any kind of company; his playing never sounds out of place. Dave O’Higgins is a similar British tenor player, I would love to hear them play together!

Thankfully Joey DeFrancesco uses the power of the Hammond B3 intelligently, that is to say, he doesn’t use it to swamp out his colleagues.

Smoke ‘Em Up starts things off at a bright tempo, this 24 bars is an original composition of the leader. The Duke’s Things Ain’t what They Used to Be takes us into the blues, but this time in the 12 bar format. Misty is taken at a bright tempo and really swings along. The solos throughout are of the best, as you would expect from musicians of this standard. This Masquerade written by Leon Russell and made famous by George Benson, it was also a minor hit for The Carpenters, this version is given an up-tempo Latin feel and it works very well. Wave is also taken at a faster tempo than usual and St Louis Blues is a different version from anything I have heard before.

Waltz Rubiot is a blues in ¾ time, another Gibbs original as are Hey Jim and Hot Rod. Sugar is a Stanley Turrentine tune and as you would expect has a feature for Eric Alexander. Dan Faehnle on guitar, who I have not mentioned so far, fits the group perfectly, he is a fine soloist and the exchanges that he has with Eric Alexander on Waltz Rubiot are very well constructed.

Throughout the album Terry Gibbs demonstrates that even at 80, he has lost none of his ability to swing and play interesting melodic lines in his solos. Eric Alexander impresses on every track; he has taken into his playing what has gone before and distilled from it a unique style, which makes him the complete player. He really takes off on Hot Rod, great sound, fantastic technique! For that matter so do the rest of the ensemble, a real flag waver!

This CD was a joy to listen to and a pleasure to review, if you like your jazz to swing in the way that only the top jazz musicians can, then this is for you…….it’s certainly for me!

Don Mather

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