Fear of Flying Whirlwind****
The young English-born, Glasgow-resident pianist Tom Gibbs will be familiar to many Irish listeners from his playing in vocalist Lauren Kinsella’s adventurous Thought Fox quintet.
His second album under his own name features long-time Scottish co-conspirator, bassist Euan Burton, alongside the much-admired New York-based saxophonist Will Vinson and drummer James Maddren, all rising stars in their own rights, and the chemistry within the quartet is evident from the first note. The leader’s tunes are a cheerfully melancholic blend of sweet and sour, and the group bring them to life with a lightness of touch and a simmering energy that strikes a fine balance between simplicity and density.
Vinson is the recording’s dominant voice, always lyrical and creative whether on alto or soprano, but Gibbs also impresses, a thoughtful, understated pianist with a delicate touch informed by his mentor, John Taylor, and discernible traces of Fred Hersch and Brad Mehldau.