He has been held up as an example of a musician who is able to keep working in the studios until they are old and grey and is also considered a good example of "a witty drummer," whatever that is. One thing is for sure:; Sol Gubin has been busy, logging some 109 jazz recording sessions alone between 1954 and 1992 according to bean counter Tom Lord. Lord also counts time, as to whether a recording has swinging jazz content or not, so would immediately eliminate an equal number or perhaps even more titles in which Gubin is involved in other styles of music, such as rhythm and blues, pop or standard vocal music.
While some of Gubin's collaborations bring him into the hardcore jazz radar, these involvements in the '50s with Bill Evans or Wes Montgomery reveal a skilled jazz drummer whose playing eventually opened a connection with the world of the studio musician rather than building up the kind of complete barrier other musicians in his profession seem to prefer. Gubin tends to show up on recording sessions where jazz leaders bring in extra musicians to augment the tried and true sound of the small combo. One of the earliest bells rung in the drummer's recording career was vocalist Tony Bennett's project entitled Jazz, an early indication that Gubin would be comfortable in crossover duds.
Gubin has since appeared on a surprising variety of recordings, or perhaps not surprising to those who are aware of the type of careers studio musicians have. For example, some listeners might be shocked to find out that the introspective songwriter and singer Janis Ian and glamour boy Michael Bolton have the slightest thing in common, but they do—Sol Gubin. His datebook has included Perry Como and Natalie Cole and he was also associated with the light Latin sounds of Cal Tjader and Walter Wanderley. In 2002 his name came up in a round-robin discussion with Los Angeles studio drummers, naming off the guys with seniority who were still going strong. An interview from the same period with drummer Alan
Schwartzberg yielded this comment: "I always try to play with some wit. I consider Jim Keltner, Richie Hayward, B.J. Wilson and old timer Sol Gubin to be really witty drummers." Maybe they should consider adding laugh tracks to some of Bolton's records.
- By Eugene Chadbourne
All Music Group