Keyboardist Gerard Gibbs It was supposed to be Christian McBride’s official introduction to Detroit’s jazz community, a two set performance held at the legendary jazz club Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, but the bassist was upstage by keyboardist Gerard Gibbs. Gibbs' trio accompanied McBride. Someone should've had a pep talk with Gibbs for the gig began, informing the keyboardist that McBride was the star. And it would be appreciated if he refrained from his customary antics.
The keyboardist, a notorious show-boater, spent the greater part of the first set acting a fool and man-handling his instrument. On the opening selection, Gibbs went straight into his usual hey-mom-look-at-me act. This was pretty much his attitude during the first set.
McBride, a seasoned bandleader, couldn’t humble Gibbs. McBride spent most of the set trying to reel Gibbs back on track. McBride couldn’t contain the annoying ball-hog. McBride gave up and went with the flow.
When McBride found the space, he solos were short and sweet. At one point, the band cleared the stage so McBride could play alone. The ballad he played was so heartfelt it could’ve made the devil cry. The capacity crowd finally got the chance for a brief moment to experience the wonderful bassist uninterrupted. As the guys returned to the stage, Gibbs yelled to the audience: “Aw that was pretty”. Again he averted the attention to himself.
Gibbs is so selfish he didn’t allow the bassist to enjoy the spotlight. Gibbs returned to whipping the piano as if he was mad at it. Even his drummer, Jabari, (he doesn’t use his surname) wearing a suede cowboy hat and matching cowboy boots on one of the humid nights of the year, ventured into show-boat mode, banging away like he was auditioning for a heavy metal band.
The only member of Gibbs’ trio who bonded with McBride was guitarist Perry Hughes. With his black cap turned backward, Hughes set on a stool and cruised through the set. For some reason, he didn’t a take solo.
Thanks to Gibbs antics the audience didn’t get a chance to experience all McBride has to offer, and to give him the welcome he so deserves.