Michael Gibbs is a composer, conductor, arranger and producer as well as a trombonist and keyboardist, known for his collaborations with Gary Burton, and for his ability to utilise rock elements in orchestral jazz.
Festival '69 is an historic concert performance, previously unreleased, providing unique insight into Gibbs' artistry prior to his recording career proper (debut album released in 1970). Assembling a big band boasting the cream of contemporary British Jazz, Gibbs connected for this one concert with pioneering vibraphonist Gary Burton and his Quartet.
The concert recording, over 90 minutes long, captures the Gary Burton Quartet performing classic original compositions by Gibbs, Burton and the Quartet's Steve Swallow at the mainstream music festival held in Belfast, November 1969 (1967's headliner was Jimi Hendrix).
Gibbs' band for the festival featured Chris Pyne, Kenny Wheeler, Trevor Barber, Alan Skidmore, Ray Warleigh, Tony Roberts and Chris Spedding. As a bonus Turtle Records is able to offer from Gibbs' own archive a 55 - minute recording of his Big Band earlier the same year at Lancaster University. Here, the band line-up comprised John Surman, Mike Osborne, Alan Skidmore, Henry Lowther, Roderick Toal, Chris Pyne, Dick Hart, Frank Ricotti, Mike Pyne, Phillip Lee, Jack Bruce and John Marshall.
While the Lancaster recording circulated online in MP3 form in the 90s, this audio has been carefully mastered from non-compressed files and restored for the first time, under Mike Gibbs' supervision, to it's original speed and at the original pitch. This package further boasts a major essay on Gibbs' early career, by John McLaughlin biographer Colin Harper, with fresh interview material from Gibbs enhanced with photos from Gibbs' own archive and contemporary cuttings.
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