Oct 13, 2021
Happy 97th Birthday, Terry
On Wednesday, October 13th, vibraphonist, big and small bandleader, composer, author, and TV music director Terry Gibbs celebrates his 97th birthday. For six decades, I have been a big Terry Gibbs fan. There is an energy in his music which I find irresistible.
Terry is in relatively good health and possesses an astonishing memory; he can recall details, personnel, and stories of just about every recording session and album he has done, going back to 1955 or before. Even back then, he found novel settings for his vibes playing, including alongside two other stellar vibes players on one album and a 5-horn big band sax section on another. In the 1950s, few women instrumentalists were afforded their proper respect; Terry toured and recorded for years with Terry Pollard as pianist (she is also an excellent vibist; check them out on YouTube) and Alice Coltrane, nee McLeod, who also played piano, and some vibes, with him.
I got to meet Terry on March 9, 2006, at the recording session for his CD “Findin’ the Groove,” (JazzedMediaJM1021) at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood. I was a guest of his son Gerry, whom I had met previously in San Antonio through my late brother, Fred Weiss. Gerry has done several CDs for my Whaling City Sound label and was the drummer for the session.
Just a few years ago, Terry came out of retirement and recorded “92 Years Young: Jammin’ at the Gibbs House,” and that CD, like several of Terry’s pre-retirement recordings, went to #1 on the JazzWeek radio chart.
Today his son Gerry sits at top of the Jazzweek chart with his latest, “Songs From My Father,” a two CD collection of songs written by Terry, and which Gerry has played his whole life. Joining Gerry in his tribute to his “Pops” are four “Thrasher Dream Trios”: Kenny Barron and Buster Williams, Patrice Rushen and Larry Goldings (organ), Geoff Keezer and Christian McBride and Chick Corea (his last recording) and Ron Carter.
Terry is very pleased with how these spectacular talents interpretated and explored his tunes in their own personal way. Sometimes it takes a while for some obvious talent and artworks to be suitably displayed and appreciated.
On your birthday, Terry, on behalf of your legion of fans, I want to wish you a happy 97th and thank you for sharing your gifts with us. Keep it up.
President, Whaling City Sound and fan of Terry and Gerry Gibbs