Pianist, composer and university lecturer Tom Gibbs is one of the UK’s rising stars in contemporary improvised music. Named by Jazzwise Magazine as “one to watch” he has also been called “a star in its ascendancy” by BBC Radio. His 2010 album Forgotten Things, co-led with double bassist Euan Burton, featured New Yorkers Ari Hoenig and Gilad Hekselman, and was one of BBC Scotland’s records of the year. The project was nominated in two categories (Best Band, Best Album) at the 2011 Scottish Jazz Awards: “A thoughtfully composed and beautifully played set of tunes, and a disc which reveals fresh delights with each listen” (The Jazz Breakfast). The Herald called their music “international in reach and quality.”
On October, 2012, Gibbs released his debut album Fear of Flying on Whirlwind Recordings, featuring Will Vinson on saxophones, James Maddren on drums and Euan Burton on bass. Gibbs takes full writing credits and showcases a potent collection of cerebral and visceral music, drawing influence from the scenes of New York City, Mainland Europe and his native Scotland. The album was included in the “Best 10 Jazz Records of the Year” list in MOJO Magazine and was met with widespread critical acclaim.
In Scotland he is a first-call pianist who is known for his sophisticated and contemplative touch and his own bands perform extensively with recent highlight concerts at the Glasgow and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals, and a live recording for BBC Radio 3. His eclectic freelance work includes Stu Brown’s Raymond Scott Project, Euan Burton’s ‘Occurrences’ and Thought Fox (winners of Irish Music Network’s ‘Young Music-Wide Award’). He’s also recorded for bands such as Admiral Fallow, Hue and Cry as well as The DT6.
Gibbs was first drawn to jazz by his father and grandfather, who were both part-time players and fans of the music. The first album he owned was a Horace Silver compilation gifted by his cornet-playing godfather, and it was a trip to Small’s in New York that really pushed him in a jazz direction. Tom gained a Masters with distinction at York University, a forward-thinking department where we was mentored by John Taylor and Julian Arguelles, both key influences. He also studied in New York with Jason Moran and in Oslo with Ralph Alessi. Gibbs has been based in Glasgow since 2007 and performs with, amongst others, Ulf Wakenius, Ari Hoenig, Konrad Wisniewski, Paul Towndrow, Graeme Stephen, Phil Bancroft and Martin Kershaw. He plays in the resident house band every Sunday at The 78 in Glasgow.