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MP3 Gary Gibson - My Two Cents

Original Caribbean-influenced jazz compositions by steel pannist Gary Gibson.

9 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Latin Jazz, JAZZ: Jazz Fusion

In 1968, inspired by a performance by the U.S. Navy Steel band at a parade in his birthplace of Wichita, Kansas, USA, eight-year-old Gary Gibson sacrificed his rusty old round metal "Flying Saucer" sled in order to hammer out his own four-note steel drum. Thirty-five years later, he would live in Trinidad, West Indies, the birthplace of the steel pan, and become a national champion as a member of the 120-player strong "Exodus Steel Orchestra" in the 2004 Panorama competition.

Though his early musical training and education through graduate school was in the classical realm as a percussionist, he shifted his attention as a teenager to jazz and Caribbean music styles. While still keeping one foot firmly planted in his classical roots as a composer and performer, and another firmly planted as a jazz vibraphonist, he has embraced the steel pan as his primary vehicle for jazz improvisation.

Gary began seriously playing the steel pan as a college music student in 1979. A drummer, vibraphonist, and keyboardist since the age of five, he holds a Master''s degree in Music Performance from Wichita State University. As a graduate student there, he led his own 16-piece pan group, the "Pan America Steel Orchestra." The group recorded "Inland Evolution" in 1985, a collection of Gibson''s original, experimental works for steel pan ensemble.

Gibson has recorded feature movie sound tracks as an orchestral section percussionist, played both drums and vibraphone in jazz performances with his quartet (as well as with numerous other groups), and been the pit drummer/percussionist for numerous shows at Seattle''s premier Broadway-style theater. As a composer and orchestrator, he has created numerous works on commission for various ensembles ranging from steel drum band to symphony orchestra, jazz ensemble to pit orchestra. He was on the jazz faculty at Seattle''s Cornish College of the Arts for eight years, and taught previously at Chicago State University and North Texas State University (now University of North Texas), where he was the first director of the school''s steel drum band. He currently leads two steadily-gigging local steel drum groups, "Calypso Blue" and "Panduo," (the latter of which played at the New Year''s 2000 Millennium Celebration in Hong Kong), and is preparing his new group, "Yah, Boy" for their debut recording and concert appearances (2005).

In early 2004, Gibson set aside two full months for his self-described "pilgrimage" to Trinidad, West Indies. As a member of the Exodus Steel Orchestra, he observed from a rare inside perspective the entire process involved in bringing 120 players together to capture their second consecutive national title as Panorama champions. Gibson documented the entire process--rehearsals through finals competition--in his online photo journal, an extensive website that is now being used as an educational resource in various steel band programs throughout the United States (https://www.tradebit.com

Gibson has released two CDs to date, and a third project is currently in the works. His debut CD, "My Two Cents," gained him international attention as a new creative force in the steel drum genre:

"There is just something immensely likable about ''My Two Cents''. It has a certain flair that sets it apart from other CDs of this type, and the blending of contemporary jazz approaches is most appealing...fresh, innovative sounds and excellent performances. Gary Gibson is a master of the steel drums & vibraphone and puts them to excellent use..." (Lee Prosser, https://www.tradebit.com)

Gibson''s second recording project, "CounterMelodies," was released in December, 2002:

"...Gibson expands on the strengths of the first album, while at the same time breaking new ground. As a composer he is able to take on the traditions of Caribbean music and inject a sense of harmony that makes it all his own. There are plenty of memorable melodies and infectious rhythms to appeal to a broad range of listeners. Easy on the ears, while at the same time filled with challenge, Countermelodies is a fine effort from an artist who deserves a broader audience." (Dave Binder, https://www.tradebit.com)

Recent concert appearances include performances at University of Florida, University of Southern Mississippi, Brigham Young University, University of Montana, Miami University of Ohio, Wichita State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Jacinto College (Houston), Morehead State University, and University of Toledo, as well as masterclass/clinics at the Caribbean Music Festval "PANorama" Steelband competition (part of the Virginia Arts Festival), Kansas State University, Kent State University, Morehead State University, Missouri Western State College, and numerous high school steel band programs throughout Ohio and Texas.

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