Michael Gibbs/Tanglewood '63 assembles arranger Michael Gibbs classic LPs for the Deram label. 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 Gibbs' self-titled Deram debut. 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. Tanglewood '63 is even better, vividly majestic music of remarkable scope and energy -- Gibbs' ingenious arrangements suggest a pop-art incarnation of a traditional big band. Assembled from blistering guitar riffage, fiery brass and deeply idiosyncratic rhythms, Tanglewood '63 is most impressive for the tactile sumptuousness of Gibbs' sound -- the music boasts as many tints and textures as a Pantone Color Guide.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2