Michael Gibbs

Michael Gibbs

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If Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had actually existed -- a sprawling, Nehru-jacketed psychedelic orchestra come to life -- their music would have undoubtedly sounded exactly like arranger Michael Gibbs' self-titled Deram LP. Recorded with British crossover titans including guitarist Chris Spedding, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, and electric pianist Gordon Beck, the album was a seminal turning point in the history of U.K. jazz-rock, embracing avant garde-inspired brass passages, electrifying guitar solos and thunderous yet funky rhythms to create music entirely of its time but distinctly out of time as well. And for all its post-Hendrix sound and spirit, Michael Gibbs still retains the soulfulness of conventional jazz; the music speaks to the body as loudly as it does the intellect. [Reissued in 2005 as one half of a Vocalion two-fer alongside its brilliant follow-up, Tanglewood '63.]