Sean Gibbs grew up in Edinburgh and learned his craft from Tommy Smith and among the various Scottish youth jazz orchestras. A graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire, he is currently a member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and has worked with numerous small groups and big bands.
This is his debut album, and what a confident if unpretentious set it is. Steeped in the jazz tradition, it is packed with hearty grooves, lyrical and catchy melodies – all the compositions are his – and a deep connection to the blues. And to Blue Note records, for this set would sit comfortably among its many classic hard bop and soul jazz releases from the 1950s and 60s.
Internal Conflict sets the pace, its 12/8 groove and modal feel a showcase for Gibbs’s confident soloing and Stone-Lonergan’s more throaty attack. Happy Hour has a township swing to it, while Mary is a gorgeous ballad that sets Gourlay’s languid bass solo nicely against the leader’s relaxed delivery. The Grand Parade ups the tempo again with some driving hard bop, Stone-Lonergan effortlessly riding the changes and Brockway concise in his contribution. That’s Your Lot is gently contemplative, again with Brockway in good form, while Camperdown, named after a play park in Dundee that evokes Gibbs’s childhood, is quietly nostalgic. The title track concludes proceedings with a gospel-style swing that is quite infectious. Seven strong tracks performed by five strong musicians. What’s not to like?
If I were Sean Gibbs, I would be mighty proud of this album. And Ubuntu’s elegant typography and colour choices for the cover are mighty fine as well.
Internal Conflict; Happy Hour; Mary; The Grand Parade; That’s Your Lot; Camperdown; When Can I See You Again? (36.20)
Gibbs (t); Riley Stone-Lonergan (ts); Rob Brockway (p); Calum Gourlay (b); Jay Davis (d). UK, 9 March, 22 November 2020.
Ubuntu Music UBU0083