"Gibbons dashes off
|For full reviews click on the image to visit the press room.|
"There's no finer player of Gershwin around than Jack Gibbons"
- DAILY TELEGRAPH, Queen Elizabeth Hall recital, July 11th 1999
"Jack Gibbons is
THE Gershwin pianist of our time. Gibbons has transcribed the composer's flamboyant and
fiendishly difficult recreations of his own show-tunes... he dashes off the most insanely
difficult passage-work with a broad grin. This is music that requires verve, nerve, and
Gibbons' enviable capacity to generate party atmosphere."
- YORKSHIRE POST/BBC PROMS, Royal Albert Hall London, 1995
"Of all the recent
waves of authentic Broadway recreations of recent years this is in some ways the most
remarkable... To listen to Gibbons's performances is to marvel afresh at his astonishing
virtuosity, his rare control of the music's rhythmic vigour and his supreme relish for its
melodic richness... Gershwin does not come more exhilarating than this... A unique
testimony to Gershwin's genius."
- CLASSIC CD, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 1", April 1993
"From the opening
numbers there is an immediacy freshness and infectious sense of complete confidence that
will certainly take your breath away.. moving and magical - a magnificent trilogy of discs
from a young lion of the keyboard."
- CD REVIEW, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 3", May 1994
of Gershwin... there are jewels everywhere. Gibbons plays with a blend of verve,
virtuosity and love that really does them justice"
- CLASSIC FM MAGAZINE, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volumes 1 - 3", November 1995
enjoyable... with irresistible rhythmic drive and sparkle, and both power and
- BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 3", June 1994
"High spirited and
- NEW YORKER, previewing NY recital debut, November 1994
"What's fun are
the dare-devil interpretations by Jack Gibbons, who's got the technique to challenge the
master on his own terms and a strong sense of the composer's style. There's no wonder that
Gibbons is a London sensation and that his Gershwin is constantly in demand...
- PIANO & KEYBOARD (USA), reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volumes 1 - 2", March 1994
an uncanny representation of Gershwin's piano style that hasn't been heard since the glory
days of Oscar Levant."
- VILLAGE VOICE, New York, previewing NY recital, October 1997
"Hours of studying
Gershwin's recordings and piano-rolls have given Gibbons a brilliant feel for the
maestro's own improvisations and witty interpretations of his works, and he plays them
with astonishing skill. So far has Gibbons perfected his art that this was not an evening
OF Gershwin but, as near as we could ever come to, an evening WITH Gershwin."
- GULF DAILY NEWS, concert review, Middle East tour, January 1994
"All of the
superlatives already heaped on Volumes 1-3 of Jack Gibbons's ASV series "The
Authentic George Gershwin" can be re-amassed on Volume 4. This is a splendid disc for
dipping into on a regular basis. Gibbons's style of playing Gershwin strikes me as
basically unimpeachable. The key to his success is that everything he does sounds very
natural and unselfindulgent: he swings (but not too extravagantly), he gently strokes a
favoured melody (but not gooily), he dances vigorously (but never in a keyboard-clomping
way). This is a virtually perfect disc. Superbly stylish playing - a must for those
following the series. Alternatives: Nothing comparable. Jack Gibbons has totally absorbed
- CLASSIC CD, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 4", January 1998
phenomenal idiosyncratic ability at the keyboard lives on under the flashing fingers of
Jack Gibbons. He's now reached Volume 4 of The Authentic Gershwin, his extraordinary
series of Gershwin work transcribed and/or arranged for solo piano. A real labour of love
and not a little musical scholarship - though you'd never guess it from Gibbons's
- CLASSIC FM MAGAZINE, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volume 4", January 1998
"Staggering.. I can
safely say that this ranks among the most exhilarating feats of pianism I've heard on
disc... an Alkan interpreter of exceptional authority... Gibbons's account becomes the top
- MICHAEL STEWART, GRAMOPHONE, reviewing "Alkan, the complete Etudes, Opus 39", November 1995
awesome technique and irresistible enthusiasm mirror Gershwin's own.. a remarkable young
- WESTERN MAIL, concert review, Swansea, January 1994
"Jack Gibbons is a
historian of Gershwin as well as a great pianist"
- Sheridan Morley, BBC Radio 2, July 1998
"Jack Gibbons is
the Gershwin expert's Gershwin expert"
- Ned Sherrin, Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4, July, 1998
Gibbons, famed for his Gershwin recordings, turns his hand (or rather his hands, on each
of which he seems to have rather more than the usual allocation of fingers!) to the
devilishly difficult Etudes by Charles-Valentin Alkan. Here is a truly remarkable
recording that brings together an astonishing array of pianistic pyrotechnics that
worthily reflect their extraordinary composer... a fascinating introduction to a complex
and compelling composer"
- BRIAN KAY, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, reviewing "Alkan, the complete Etudes, Opus 39", May 1996
"A new disc of
George Gershwin, featuring the extraordinary talents of pianist Jack Gibbons, "The
Authentic Gershwin", Volume One, comprises transcriptions of recordings of the
composer's improvisations and piano rolls. The result is boisterous party music, whose
crazy exuberance is often extraordinarily funny. Gibbons has specialised in the composer's
manic solo idiom and the disc's engineer, Tony Faulkner (who has furnished superb sound),
reported recently how a grinning Gibbons tossed off hours of this finger-crunched
repertoire as though it were children's exercises ... Gibbons exudes such good humour that
the disc will be a mandatory addition to all music-lovers' New Year's Eve revelry."
- SIMON CARGILL, YORKSHIRE POST, reviewing "The Authentic George Gershwin, Volumes 1", December 1992
pianist.. scintillating performance, by far the finest I have yet heard"
- EDWARD GREENFIELD, THE GUARDIAN/PENGUIN GOOD CD GUIDE, reviewing "Lambert, Rio Grande", April 1992
"The two generously
filled [Alkan] discs are a spectacular triumph. This titanic volume of some of the
greatest and most adventurous piano music ever written takes over two hours to play and
Gibbons turns it into a thrilling experience... all the electricity of live
- CLASSIC CD, reviewing "Alkan, the complete Etudes, Opus 39", September 1995
himself is a pianist of genius, with an endearing Jimmy Stewart-like awkwardness, a
charming smile and about forty hands. You don't notice this last attribute until he begins
to play, and then all you can see of them is a pink blur above the keyboard. Think of one
of those frenzied Hoffnung cartoons. This man can do with one piano what everyone else has
to do with two of them and a full orchestra. One of the most delightful aspects of going
to a Gibbons concert is that you get to spend an evening with somebody who is really
enjoying entertaining you. His delight in and enthusiasm for the music is almost tangible
in the haze of nervous energy that radiates from him. In between pieces, as he chats to
the audience, he displays a more languid persona, full of anecdotes and humour. 'Electric'
seems to be the only adjective I can think of to describe his Gershwin renditions. The
music of George Gershwin is what Gibbons is most famous for playing. Mr Gibbons has
recreated, from records, films and piano-rolls, a fabulous collection of Gershwin's own
arrangements and improvisations, which he plays with such flair and accuracy that you
could imagine him possessed by the spirit of the composer himself. Jack Gibbons'
remarkable talents and enthusiasms make these performances utterly exhilarating. He is
never permitted to end the evening without three or four unscheduled encores, and to watch
him is comparable to being given a chance to watch, say, Fred Astaire or Gershwin himself
- live - you will be watching a genius at work."
- OXFORD UNIVERSITY REVIEW SHEET, concert review, Oxford, July 1997
"Jack Gibbons is a
genius. And like most genuine geniuses he doesn't need to enhance his image with mystery
or posturing. A goofy grin and an engagingly modest manner catch you completely unprepared
- then the music starts. By interval we were in awe, by the end of the evening I felt like
Salieri in the presence of Mozart. If you believe in reincarnation, Jack is George
Gershwin. We were treated to a wonderfully generous helping, plus a stream of anecdotes
and illustrations which greatly enhanced the fun of re-discovering Gershwin - music that
belonged in my Dad's old collection of 78s. Here it was, recreated in shimmering harmonies
and dazzling rhythms, with that uninhibited inventiveness that transforms even the most
foot-tapping of Gershwin's tunes into wildly creative, ground-breaking originals. By the
last part of the concert I just knew that Rhapsody in Blue was going to produce goose
bumps. I was right. It was almost scary."
- ZIMBABWE UPBEAT MAGAZINE, concert review, Zimbabwe, February 1997
"As I listened,
enthralled, to his glorious playing now melting, now almost terrifying in its
ferocity there flashed across my mind that much quoted remark of Schumann's concerning
Chopin: 'Hats off, gentlemen, genius. 'Surely there was more than a touch of genius in
Jack Gibbons... In Rhapsody in Blue the piano became a whole orchestra in power and
sonority. The effect was overwhelming"
- CROYDON ADVERTISER, concert review, Fairfield Halls, September 1995
"Like a magician,
Gibbons brought everything under his dominant spell. He won a rapturous ovation from the
audience for playing that demonstrated a formidable technique, true musicianship and sheer
poetry.. In Rhapsody in Blue, the highlight of the concert, the spell-binding performance
of Gershwin's masterpiece made a magnificent end to an exciting evening."
- OXFORD TIMES, concert review, March 1995
Gershwin's complex piano rolls and recordings takes a remarkable pianist. And Jack Gibbons
is a remarkable pianist. Mr Gibbons's ability to establish a rapport with his audience,
coupled with a technique and command of Gershwin's art, is awe-inspiring. Gershwin was one
of the few contemporary composers to switch successfully between song-writing and
classical compositions. Mr Gibbons's arrangement of Cuban Overture was outstanding while
Prelude No.2 was profoundly moving. Rhapsody in Blue was played with such generous depth
of feeling and understanding of the work that it was hard to imagine that Gibbons was not
born to play Gershwin. Mr Gibbons's visible enjoyment of the work and insatiable energy
kept his audience captivated throughout. It's not often that you see an encore midway
through the second half, but the audience demanded, and was given, two brilliant versions
of I Got Rhythm. Who could ask for anything more?"
- OXFORD MAIL, concert review, March, 1995
not only does he possess both the stamina and a technique prodigious enough to master
everything the music requires, but he scrupulously respects Alkans own insistence on
clarity, precision and control in this most hugely romantic of music."
- THE TIMES, concert review, Alkan Etudes Opus 39 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, February, 1996
Alkan, the reclusive, misanthropic Romantic composer's prolific and prolix output holds
many attractions and challenges for fearless super-virtuoso types. Gibbons plunges head
first into the treacherous writing with dashing brio and a titanic, exuberant sense of
flow. Even when Gibbons' formidable fingers are pushed to their limits, such as the
repeated notes in the Concerto's first movement, nothing ever sounds forced. His playing
is constantly vibrant and alive, and communicates a physical joy in his instrument one
rarely experiences with modern recordings. These generously filled discs constitute a
major release, and should be heard by anyone with the slightest interest in this most
intriguing of all neglected nineteenth century figures."
- CLASSICAL NET MUSIC REVIEWS, reviewing "Alkan, the complete Etudes, Opus 39", 1996
Back to Top