Terry Gibbs Legacy Band
Mixed Media Client since: 2017
Terry Gibbs will go live again! This coming Sunday at 1 pm pacific time, here on Facebook live. He’ll tell stories and answer questions from anybody who’s interested. He had a really great time answering all the questions that were asked.
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.
Mondays With Morgan is a column in LondonJazz News written by Morgan Enos, a music journalist based in Hackensack, New Jersey. Therein, he dives deep into the jazz that moves him – his main focus being the scene in nearby New York City.
This week, Enos spoke with the legendary vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, active since the 1940s; to trace his development is to tell the story of a large swath of jazz history.
To read the full article click here.
Terry Gibbs, who turns 99 next October 13, has had quite a remarkable career. One of the greatest vibraphonists of all time, Gibbs was a professional by the age of 12 (back in 1936). He became famous as a member of Woody Herman’s Second Herd, worked with Buddy Rich, Chubby Jackson and the Benny Goodman Sextet, mastered bebop, and was a bandleader throughout much of his career. Gibbs led his orchestra, The Dream Band, during the late 1950s and early ‘60s, headed the regular group on the Steve Allen Show in the 1960s, and had a quintet with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco. His memoirs, Good Vibes, is both quite informative and often hilarious. Gibbs was active into his early nineties before deciding to retire.
The Terry Gibbs Songbook is a special final musical project in Gibbs’ career. There is one major error in the liner notes that needs to be corrected. It is stated that because Gibbs helps out with the singing and plays some two-handed piano on the humorous and nostalgic “Now’s The Time To Groove,” he is the first musician to record in eight decades. Actually Benny Carter recorded in nine; however Terry Gibbs still has the record. In addition to recording commercially in nine decades (starting in 1946), if one counts a radio show on which Gibbs in the 1930s played some classical music (tapes still exist and briefly appeared on You Tube), he is the only musician ever to have recorded in ten decades!
While Gibbs occasionally wrote songs that he recorded as instrumentals through the years, this project is a bit different. 15 of the great vibraphonist’s compositions have been given lyrics and are sung by Danny Bacher, a fine jazz vocalist who could have fit in well with jazz groups in the 1950s. Eight of the numbers have words by Michael Dees while the other collaborators were lyricists Arthur Hamilton, Bobby Troup, Steve Allen, and Jerry Gladstone with two of the songs having lyrics by Gibbs himself.
Terry Gibbs’ music has always swung and this set is certainly no exception. He gathered together pianist Tom Ranier (also heard a bit on tenor), bassist Mike Gurrola, and his son drummer Gerry Gibbs, and was able to easily talk the two great swing tenors Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen into joining the group. While each song has a Bacher vocal, there is a lot of solo space for the tenors and Ranier. The tunes range from love songs (including the touching “I Was Loved”) and wistful memories of his life to plenty of joyful swing. Such titles as “I Can Hardly Wait For Saturday Night,” “Play And Sing,” “And That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” “Stay With Me Tonight” (which during its closing part includes some Terry Gibbs vibes from decades ago), and the jazz waltz “Say Goodbye” are among the many rewarding songs on this set that could become standards in the future if heard by enough singers and instrumentalists.
Terry Gibbs has said on numerous occasions that this is his last recording. Hopefully when he turns 100, he will change his mind and do this again! In the meantime, be sure to pick up a copy of The Terry Gibbs Songbook which is available from www.whalingcitysound.com and www.amazon.com.
“Terry Gibbs Returns with Homemade Recording” interview by Kirk Silsbee in July 2017 DOWNBEAT:
“IN 2015, VETERAN VIBRAPHONIST TERRY Gibbs decided to put his mallets away for good, leaving the family musical legacy to his son, drummer Gerry Gibbs. But a funny thing happened on the way to retirement: Terry got the itch and asked Gerry to bring some players to his house for an informal jam. Gerry’s wife posted a YouTube video of the get-together, which went viral a few days later. The group then decided to have a session with the tape rolling, and the result is an album Terry never thought he’d make—92 Years Young: Jammin’ At The Gibbs House (Whaling City Sound). The loquacious Terry Gibbs was happy to talk to DownBeat about the unique circumstances behind this project and reflect on his storied career.”
Terry Gibbs makes Amazon’s “Best Jazz Songs of 2017 So Far” comes in at #16!