Michael Gibbs (composer)

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Mike Gibbs
Birth nameMichael Clement Irving Gibbs
Born (1937-09-25) 25 September 1937 (age 85)
Harare, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
Years active1960s-Present

Michael Clement Irving Gibbs (born 25 September 1937) is a Rhodesian-born English jazz composer, conductor, arranger and producer as well as a trombonist and keyboardist.[1]

He is known for collaborations with vibraphonist Gary Burton, his student, and for his use of rock elements in orchestral jazz.


Gibbs was born in Harare, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).[1] He moved to Boston, Massachusetts, United States in 1959, in order to study at the Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory. In 1961, Gibbs took scholarships at the Lennox School of Jazz and later at Tanglewood Music Center. Initially returning to Rhodesia, Gibbs later settled in England.[1]

After recording with Graham Collier, John Dankworth, Kenny Wheeler and Mike Westbrook in the late 1960s, Gibbs released his first album, Michael Gibbs, in 1970.[1] From 1970 to 1974, Gibbs was musical director for the BBC TV comedy programme The Goodies. When he left the UK to take up a teaching position at Berklee, the musical director post was filled by Dave MacRae, a member of the band Gibbs had led in recording funk rock music for the show. After resigning from that teaching position in 1983, Gibbs became a freelance arranger and producer, working variously with Jaco Pastorius, Michael Mantler, Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Whitney Houston, Vladislav Sendecki, Peter Gabriel and Sister Sledge.[1] In 1991, he toured and recorded with John Scofield.[1]

During the years 1999–2000, he worked at the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department in Helsinki where he had a professorship (part-time) in Jazz Composition and Arranging.[2]

On 2 October 2017, Gibbs was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award,[3] in recognition of his unique contribution to music. In 2017, Gibbs was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from his alma mater, Berklee College of Music.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Michael Gibbs (Deram, 1970)
  • Tanglewood 63 (Deram, 1971)
  • Just Ahead (Polydor, 1972)
  • In the Public Interest with Gary Burton (Polydor, 1974)
  • Seven Songs for Quartet and Chamber Orchestra (1974, ECM)
  • Directs the Only Chrome Waterfall Orchestra (Bronze, 1975)
  • Will Power with Neil Ardley, Ian Carr, Stan Tracey (Argo, 1975)
  • Big Music with Bob Moses, Chris Hunter, Lew Soloff, Dave Bargeron, etc. (Venture, 1988, re-issued with additional track,[5] ACT, 1996)
  • Europeana: Jazzphony No. 1 with Joachim Kuhn (ACT, 1995)
  • Nonsequence (Provocateur, 2001)
  • Here's a Song for You with the NDR Big Band, Norma Winstone (Fuzzy Moon, 2011)
  • Back in the Days with the NDR Big Band (Cuneiform, 2012)[6][7]
  • Mike Gibbs + 12 play Gil Evans (Whirlwind, 2013)
  • In My View with the NDR Big Band (Cuneiform, 2015)
  • Play a Bill Frisell Set List with the NDR Big Band (Cuneiform, 2015)
  • Festival 69 with Gary Burton (Turtle, 2018)
  • MIKE GIBBS BAND Symphony Hall Birmingham 1991 - feat. John Scofield Trio, (DuskFire Co.Uk, 2018)


As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Larkin, Colin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 520. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ Mike Gibbs Biography Jazzcds.co.uk
  3. ^ "Gold Badge Awards 2017 celebrates British jazz - M Magazine". M-magazine.co.uk. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Bill Frisell and Michael Gibbs Receive Honorary Degrees". JAZZIZ Magazine. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Michael Gibbs Discography". Gibbs.onttonen.info. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  6. ^ Weideman, Paul. "MIKE GIBBS + TWELVE "Play Gil Evans (Whirlwind)". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  7. ^ Fordham, John. "Mike Gibbs + Twelve: Play Gil Evans – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2014.

External links[edit]