Piano & trombonist
Bio details: Born in Salisbury.
Mike took piano lessons from a young age. He commenced a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Natal which he did not complete, forsaking this activity to take up the trombone. He funded his own way to the Berklee College of Music in 1959 and enrolled, at the same time, at the Classical Boston Conservatory, from which he obtained a Bachelor of Music degree.
Whilst at Boston Mike befriended Gary Burton, the world’s leading vibes player of the day. He also studied at Berklee under big band leader, Herb Pomeroy (a trumpeter), as well as Gunther Schuller, John Lewis, Aaron Copeland and George Russell at the Lennox School of Jazz.
Burton encouraged Gibs to compose with Burton subsequently using many of his works. Stan Getz and George Shearing also made use of his compositions.
In 1965, Mike moved to London where he continued to play trombone as a member of the Graham Coller Sextet, the Tubby Hayes Big Band, Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine and in the pit orchestra for a ‘My Fair Lady’ production. Through this exposure Mike gained access to the world of television on the BBC which, in turn, resulted he him being given a recording contract with Deram. He made a number of his own albums whilst continuing to play with Dankworth.
In 1974 he returned to the USA and became a lecturer at Berklee where he taught arranging, jazz composition and contemporary music analyses. During this period he commuted between the USA and UK and contributed to many music projects.
Apart from recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, he has orchestrated albums for John McLaughlin and Stanley Clarke. Amongst those that he has played with, are the names of:
Mike Maran (the British folk singer)
Lenny White (and played piano on his solo album ‘BIG CITY’ – 1977 – Nemperor)
Mike Westbrook (on his albums – Marching Songs Volume 1 and Volume 2, both in 1969 on Deram)
On his own albums he has worked with the nucleus of British jazz-rock musicians:
Kenny Wheeler (ex-Savoy Brown)
Barbara Thompson (saxophone)
Brian Odgers (bass)
Mike Payne (piano)
Ray Warleigh (saxophone)
Ray Russell (guitar)
His compositions may be heard on Gary Burton’s albums “The New Quarter” and “7 Songs for Quartet and Chamber Orchestra” (both on EMI) and he dueted with Burton on the album, “In The Public Interest”. They have also appeared in many concerts together.
Mike Gibbs has written numerous film scores, jingles and worked with Bill Oddie on the music for the British television series, ‘The Goodies’. This resulted in five top twenty hits in Britain.
Michael Gibbs (1969) Deram
Tanglewood ’63 (1970) Deram
Just A Head (1972) Polydor
In The Public Interest (1973) Polydor
The Only Chrome Waterfall Orchestra (1975) (Also featured guitarist Philip Catherine). Bronze
Big Music (1988)
Has produced albums for Wynton Marsalis, Jevin Eubanks and Bill Evans.
AWARDS 1973 – Voted ‘Musician Of The Year’ in a joint award with John McLaughlin
1974 – ‘Musician Of The Year’
1974 – Voted ‘Big Bandleader Of The Year’ in Melody Maker’s jazz poll.