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An unusual combination that rewards

Chicago Fire
Chicago Fire
By Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco

Fantasy Records: 1987

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This review first appeared in the San Diego Evening Tribune.

Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco's glory days as young lions of jazz may be behind them, but in their unusual pairing of Gibbs' vibraphone and DeFranco's clarinet, they've proved they can still mine new territory.

Their second collaboration, "Chicago Fire," was recorded live last summer (1986) at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in Chicago, and the two veterans push each other to new heights all night – showing no concessions to the march of time.

The album begins strongly with Duke's "Rockin' in Rhythm." Pianist John Campbell delivers a positively Ellingtonian intro before Gibbs and DeFranco start chasing each other. Vibes and clarinet are not often paired together, but in the hands of these two masters, the result is magic – the bright tone of Gibbs' vibes serving as a lustrous complement to DeFranco's dark reedwork.