Arranger-composer Mike Gibbs led big bands on and off since 1968. For By the Way, he heads an ensemble consisting of four trumpets, one trombone, a bass trombonist, tuba, four French horns, five saxes, and a five-piece rhythm section with percussion. His 11 moody originals feature such notable soloists as trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, altoist Charlie Mariano, electric bassist Steve Swallow, guitarist Mike Walker, pianist John Taylor, and on "Just a Head/Fanfare," avant-garde tenor saxophonist Evan Parker. It is unlikely that any of the tunes are destined to catch on as standards (the atmospheric moods are more memorable than the melodies), and none of the individual tracks are standouts. But, listened to as a suite, the music is unpredictable enough to hold one's interest.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow