Where lounge music meets the stage is where you'll find Jeffrey Gimble, and that's hardly surprising: his father had his own big band and Jeffrey has in the past been in productions of Hair, The Tempest, Forbidden Broadway, and others, even the cult Crimson Force film. I'll presage the tone of this unusually chameleonic disc in noting that Gimble may well have been, to put it in his own words, "the only professional actor who ever moved to Los Angeles and promptly stopped acting and started singing instead". My kinda contrarian. The linch pin, though, was Tamir Hendelman, whom I've noted in other ventures and who is becoming ever more rather a force in jazz musics, 'cause that's the cat who pushed Gimble just enough to send him over the precipice. We, I am here to tell you, are the happy recipients of that fall to grace.
Gimble combines a wide-open stage reading of a cornucopia of standards, not-so-standards, and an original, everything presented with a deft immersion in be-bop, lounge, scat, Michael Franks-ish romanticism, and an element neither I nor critic/liner-notes writer Don Heckman nor anyone can nail down. As accessible as every song on this CD is, there's yet a mystique present, a phantom something this guy possesses that's rare. I think, though, that I'm kinda onto it. I suspect it's that same something Sammy Davis Jr. possessed: the Entertainer Element. Yep, the Entertainer Element, long thought extinct but seen here and there in cats like Robert Kraft and others, now suddenly erupting full-blown in Jeffrey Gimble. It's the only thing that explains the matter.
And his crew is right behind him, especially Hendelmen, who oft contents himself to tinkle the ivories in melodic accompaniment and variations, but when he cuts loose…holy shlamoley! A bunch of boppy, cascading, nimble-fingered escapades dance the songs a mile further, turn left, jump down into the river, and then trot on back to where they started. For me, High Wire/The Aerialist stands out, though it has stiff competition. When that cut kicks into high gear, first Gimble sets the pace, Bob Sheppard steps in with a wild sax, and Hendelman goes nuts before they all bring it back to its more staid beginnings, ending on an exultant note. So, yeah, at first it took me several songs to figure just what Jeffrey Gimble was really doing, but if you, dear audient, first lay an ear to High Wire, you'll readily get the lay of the land and be all the more grin-faced when you start again from the beginning and eventually land on Creatures, an original written by he and Mark Winkler, a strange song that first makes you laugh and then go "Whoa!! Huh???" simultaneously.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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