At age 92 years old, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs was still a musical force when he recorded 92 Years Young Jammin’ at the Gibbs House (Whaling City Sound, 2017). His son, drummer Gerry Gibbs, paid homage to him with Songs from My Father(Whaling City Sound, 2021) with the Thrasher Dream Trio band. As for this recording for his father, Gerry Gibbs says, “Recording this record with my Pops will always be so memorable because it will be his last work.” Accordingly, at the ripe age of 98 years old, Terry Gibbs has released the last album of his storied career and life with The Terry Gibbs Songbook, recorded and performed by the Terry Gibbs Legacy Band featuring Gerry and an all-star cast of players including saxophonist Scott Hamilton and vocalist Danny Bacher, who fit the bill to the tee.
Having an outstanding reed section to work with, the challenge became how to feature each player by giving them proper solo space on each track. The Brazilian flavored opener, “Let’s Go To Rio,” features Ranier on the first solo with Allen and Hamilton on two choruses of eight bars each. The following “Those Eyes, Those Lips, That Nose, That Face, That Girl,” has Allen and Hamilton supporting Bacher on vocals.
One beautiful ballad played to the heart is the gorgeous “I Was Loved,” with Hamilton doing the love solos all by himself as the vocalist displays his warmth and soul, letting it all hang out. The tempo changes dramatically on the perky “Now’s The Time To Groove,” a lively swinging number that has the shoulders moving and the fingers snapping. This is the only piece that features Terry Gibbs on vocals, trading words with Bacher on a cheery, playful piece of music.
There are other memorable songs on this session and one for sure is the melodic “The House That Might Have Been,” featuring Hamilton again on some delicious solo moments. Allen takes center stage on the slow ballad of “Nina.” The boisterous and swinging “I Can Hardly Wait for Saturday Night” has Allen and Hamilton featured on multiple four-bar solos in one of the gyrating pieces of the session.
Two of the outstanding tunes of the album are “And That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” and the swinging “Stay With Me Tonight” which features solos from Ranier, Allen and Hamilton. The Terry Gibbs Songbook is the perfect Swan Song, a final musical gesture from an unforgettable jazz legend whose music will surely live on.