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Old Jun 2, 2004, 09:50 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Gib Monks.

I'm putting this up in reply to Kerry Galloway's post about Gib over in the Username thread. This way we'll hopefully avoid "topic drift." (See. I'm getting RIGHT IN THERE with all the 'net jargon).

It feels a little strange to be putting up a thread in "Vancouver Jazz History" about a guy who's actually 5 years or so younger than me, but there it is. While we weren't looking, we became 'elder statesmen.' A scary thought considering I feel like I'm just now starting to learn how to REALLY play.

I met the Gibster in 1977. Gordy Bertram (who later appeared on the first Powder Blues album, Uncut) and I were playing with a really crappy blues band that shall remain nameless, the kind of gig no sane adult would go near, but we were young and enthusiastic, and we really, really needed the money. We were just getting comfortable as a two man horn section when the leader ( a quasi-pimp guitar player who liked to slap his stripper girlfriends around, played the same three Freddy King licks endlessly, and would put your wages up his nose if not carefully watched) announced that an alto player named "Monk" was back in town, and would be joining us.

Turns out "Monk" was 17 year old Gibson Monks the Third, late of Toronto Ontario, a bouncy little guy with endless ideas and enthusiasm and quite a knack with the ladies. ( I've seen him pull into a town and, within a matter of hours, hook himself up with a beautiful woman, a boss ride, and a bottle of good scotch). One night we were playing in a wretched little club on Granville Street that I can't remember the name of ( it was about two doors south of the Royal Hotel). One of the waitresses in the joint was a beautiful light skinned black girl with a big natural who had every guy in the band's nose open. Of course at the end of the night, she left with Gib. Turned out she was from New Orleans and was planning on returning there soon. Gib went with her, and that was the last we saw of him for 4 years.

He returned to Vancouver in the early 80s, full of stories about hanging with the Neville Brothers and gigging with Gatemouth Brown and Clarence "Frogman" Henry. We worked for a while as a two man horn section in "Downtown" Kenny Brown's band (you're right Brian. Not enough nicknames on the scene nowadays) with Gib 'tripling' on alto, tenor and bari. I used to go through a lot of reeds in those days and Gib would follow me around and pick them up as I discarded them after a day or two. "Hey, these are still good," he'd say. "Can I have them?"

Somewhere in there he moved to Calgary and I lost track of him. When I moved to Toronto in the late 80s I impulsively called the Calgary musicians union to try to track him down and was told I'd just missed him, he'd gone to Paris.

Reports came back from Paris, through Bill Clark and Gordy Bertram. Gib was touring Europe with Luther Allison. Gib was running jam sessions in Place Pigalle. Gib had published a saxophone method book.

One morning last fall in New Orleans I got up, poured a coffee, and turned on the radio to WWOZ FM. Bob French's show "French Cooking" was on, and he was playing a CD with some smokin alto on it. At the end he announced "That was Gibson Monks on alto." I immediately called the station, and Bob passed me over to his studio guest, Janet Hayes, a Calgarian who's building a home studio for pianist Henry Butler, and who'd brought in some CDs for Bob to play, Gib's among them. She gave me Gib's number in Calgary (when Luther Allison died suddenly, Gib left Paris for Calgary) and I called him a couple of days later. We talked for over two hours. Gib is married now, with a young daughter. He has a couple a CDs out, and a web-site .

Since I was planning a working trip north this summer (I'm actually in Vancouver right now. Got in from Chicago Monday afternoon) it's looks like we'll be doing a couple of gigs in Calgary together in July. I'm really excited about this. I haven't played with the cat in over 20 years.

The next time I talk to Gib, I'll encourage him to come here a tell his own stories. And Kerry, I believe you made reference to an interesting tale of hooking up with Gib in Paris.

So dish, already.
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Old Jun 2, 2004, 06:44 PM
Kerry Galloway's Avatar
Kerry Galloway Kerry Galloway is offline
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Location: Vancouver BC, Canada
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I should, it's a great and mysterious story, but Weeds already accuses me of answering questions like "what would you like for breakfast tomorrow" with "Well, when I was in Paris..."

"Being bitter is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other guy to die"

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Old Jun 4, 2004, 07:32 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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I'll be speaking with the Gibster in a few days. Maybe I can talk him into posting it himself.

I'll pass along your regards.
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