Friday, October 06, 2017

Terry Gibbs: 92 Years Young ~ Jammin' at the Gibbs House

Terry Gibbs began his career at the age of 12 after winning the Major Bowes Amateur Hour Contest and subsequently began touring professionally. He spent many years as a drummer and percussionist playing gigs until his affinity for bebop motivated him to turn down a scholarship to Julliard as a timpanist and return to the vibes. Six decades of inspirational vibe playing and technique, Gibbs is recognized as one of the best ever to grace the genre of bop. 

After World War II, Gibbs toured with Chubby Jackson, Buddy Rich and Woody Herman. He co-led a sextet with Louie Bellson and Charlie Shavers; and in 1950, he formed his own band for Mel Torme's TV show. In 1951, he joined the Benny Goodman Sextet. Subsequently, he toured with his own quartet where he won acclaim as "# 1 Vibraphonist in the world," in both the down beat and Metronome polls from 1950 to 1955. Gibbs also played a role in breaking down the sex barrier in music, using pianists Terry Pollard, who he often featured in vibe duos, Pat Moran, and Alice McLeod, who later married John Coltrane.
Settling in Los Angeles in 1957, he formed his big band known as "The Dream Band" in 1959. Comprising top notch LA talent such as Mel Lewis, Joe Maini, Frank Rosolino, Conte Candoli and Richie Kamuca, the band was named "Best Band in the World" in the Downbeat '62 Critic's Poll.
Gibbs returned to New York in the early sixties only to move back to LA to take a position as Music Director for the Regis Philbin Show. This gave him the opportunity to compose the music and conduct a sextet. He later served as Music Director/Composer for the ABC TV show, Operation Entertainment and for Steve Allen, building a substantial ASCAP rating. Gibbs also taught Steve Allen to play the vibes. 

Gibbs, throughout his illustrious career has enjoyed world acclaim playing with greats such as clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Max Roach, Art Blakely, Elvin Jones and Tito Puente. Co-leading a quintet, he had an unprecedented nomination in four categories of the Playboy Jazz Poll: Best Vibraphonist, Best Quartet, Best Big Band and Best Band Leader. His association with DeFranco spanned 18 years.

"92 Years Young." Sometimes that's an exaggeration. On the other hand, when applied to vibraphonist Terry Gibbs it may well be an understatement. Gibbs was indeed a mere six months shy of his ninety-second birthday when "Jammin' at the Gibbs House" was recorded in his living room in April 2016. Close your eyes, however, and it's the 1940s again, and Gibbs is jammin' with Woody Herman's Second Herd, or the '50s, and he's presiding over his high-powered Dream Band in Los Angeles. In other words, as people often reassure nonagenarians, he "hasn't changed a bit." In this case, however, it's more truism than solace. While Gibbs has no doubt changed a bit, as has everyone his age, that bit is wholly imperceptible to the human ear. ~ Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

With 65 albums to his credit, winner of 3 major jazz polls and creator of 300+ compositions (recorded by Gibbs, Nat Cole, Les Brown, Cannonball Adderly, Count Basie, George Shearing, etc.), Gibbs has left an indelible mark in the world of vibes.

"Its an honor to be featured on The Jazz Network Worldwide". ~ Terry Gibbs

"This feature means a lot to me, Terry and my father Chubby Jackson were very dear friends and this is my way of paying homage to their friendship as well as honoring Terry's evergreen talent. I know my Dad would totally be diggin' this recording." ~ Jaijai Jackson, The Jazz Network Worldwide


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