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
Gerry Gibbs took advantage of the corona time by criss-crossing the United States in order to record enough material for a double CD with four different trios. The percussionist did not play ‘Song for my father’ (‘standard’ by Horace Silver, as attentive readers know) but ‘Songs From My Father’. His father is the vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, who also apparently composed enough material for such a production. On piano we hear Chick Corea – in one of his last recordings – as well as Kenny Barron, Geoff Keezer and Patrice Rushen. Corea contributed one piece: the only track not by Pa Gibbs. A tough piece with a few tempo changes, in which son Gibbs had to read a lot. But he must have inherited that skill from his father, who did a lot of studio work after all.
Terry Gibbs’ eighteen pieces – written in the years 1949-1985 – are mostly handy and playable. No complicated harmonies, but a strong groove: in fours, funky or Latin. Son Gibbs is like a fish in water in that. The blues and ‘I got rhythm’ are there; in addition, some atmospheric ballads and a new melody about the chords of ‘Softly as in a morning sunrise’. Simplicity and logic, that’s what it’s all about.
The piano giants make no effort to present themselves emphatically. They swing with dedication and smooth fingers. Whether the basses of Ron Carter and Buster Williams have been recorded properly is a matter of taste. Your reviewer hears a grunt similar to anything but a double bass. Christian McBride’s bass, recorded unamplified as always, was spared this fate.
Gerry Gibbs (57) uses the term “Thrasher” for just about everything he’s in charge of. That can be a Thrasher Big Band or, like here, four times a Trasher Dream Trio. That “Dream” is another favorite qualifier of his father, who for years led his Dream Band: a collection of studio musicians from LA who came to jazz on Monday or Tuesday nights.
Terry Gibbs (96, actually: Julius Gubenko) is present in one piece in which all the participants can be heard: a matter of complicated overdubbing. The old boss is astonishingly flexible in this. The old Gibbs recorded a complete album for the same label in 2017. 92 Years Young: Jammin at The Gibbs House.
GERRY GIBBS THRASHER DREAM TRIOS – SONGS FROM MY FATHER (CD)
Whaling City Sound
Songs From My Father is the much-anticipated new album from renowned musical polymath Gerry Gibbs. On his thirteenth release as a leader, drummer — percussionist — bandleader — arranger Gibbs presents a smashing double-disc masterwork featuring four iterations of his acclaimed Thrasher Dream Trio. Under his astute direction, this band of jazz titans pays homage to the musical legacy of Gerry’s 96-year-old father, Terry Gibbs. To honor Terry, one of the last living architects of bebop and innovators of the vibraphone, Gerry selected 18 tunes from his father’s vast discography and interpreted the timeless material through his own refined compositional lens with inventive, modern arrangements. Notably, Songs From My Father features the last recorded performance of the great Chick Corea, and includes one of Chick’s tunes composed specifically for this project. With Gibbs in the drum chair, his Thrasher Dream Trios include Corea and Ron Carter; Kenny Barron and Buster Williams; Patrice Rushen and Larry Goldings and Geoff Keezer & Christian McBride; along with percussionist Kyeshie Gibbs. With this new recording, Gerry Gibbs cements his standing as one of the most creative and forward-thinking musicians on the contemporary jazz scene. Disc 1 features Corea and Carter on “Bopstacle Course,” composed in 1974 and “Sweet Young Song of Love” composed in 1985, and arranged by Gibbs and Corea. The first disc’s final track, “Hey Chick,” is a special homage to the memory of Corea. The Thrasher Dream Trio is featured on the album opener “Kick Those Feet” and “Take It From Me” both composed in 1964. “Smoke Em Up” (1968) and “Lonely Days” (1955) both feature Gibbs alongside pianist Patrice Rushen and organist Larry Goldings. Gibbs per- forms with pianist Geoff Keezer and bassist Christian McBride on 1955s “Nutty Notes,” and 1958s “The Fat Man.” Disc 2 provides audiences with further arrangements of timeless Gibbs compositions including 1949s “T & S” and 1955s “Lonely Dreams” featuring Barron, Gibbs and Williams; 1978s “Townhouse 3,” 1961s “Hippie Twist” and 1958s “Pretty Blue Eyes” featuring Rushen, Gibbs and Goldings; 1978s “4 A.M,” 1961s “For Keeps” and 1955s “Gibberish” featuring Keezer, Gibbs and McBride; and 1964s “Waltz For My Children” featuring and arranged by Corea, alongside Gibbs and Carter as well as the final piece on the album —“Tango For Terry” written and performed by Corea for his old friend Terry Gibbs.
The history of this project is very dramatic. The album, conceived as a tribute from his son – the father, the famous drummer and band leader of “The Thrasher” Gerry Gibbs – the 96-year-old legendary Terry Gibbs, who played with Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Art Blackie, Dizzy Gillespie etc., who composed more than 300 compositions, who recorded 65 solo albums and was the # 1 vibraphone player from 1950 to 1955 according to DownBeat and Metronome polls, turned into a double tribute with a very sad connotation. However, let’s go in order …
The double album Songs From My Father amazes with its monumentality. Gerry has selected 18 compositions from different years from the vast creative heritage of his father. Known for his signature Thrasher Dream Trio chamber ensembles, Jerry decided to entrust the performance of this music to several Thrasher Dream Trios, composed of the outstanding jazz musicians of our time. There are four of them in the album. Chick Corea and Ron Carter play in one with him, Kenny Barron and Buster Williams in the other, Patrice Rushen and Larry Goldings in the third (the only trio where a Hammond organ sounds instead of bass) and in the fourth – Jeff Keezer and Christian McBride. How do you like the team? In my opinion, just fantastic!
But what does it mean to implement such a project, and even in a covid year ?! Gerry Gibbs traveled half of America in ten months, coordinating the work schedules of the project participants in order to make these recordings. Terry’s old friend Chick Corea was especially inspired by the idea of this tribute. He wrote the composition “Tango For Terry” specially for the album, which became the final track of the album, and also made arrangements for two more compositions. Gerry and Chick called up almost every week, discussed the progress of the project, and just talked “for life.” And then came the unexpected and black news of Chick Corea’s death. And it so happened that four pieces recorded for this album with his participation turned out to be the last lifetime recordings of this amazing musician …
Shocked by this tragedy, the project participants said goodbye to Corea with dignity. Gerry and his father jointly renamed Terry’s 1961 composition “Hey Jim” to “Hey Chick”, and it was jointly performed for the project by all eight of its members (each with a pair of choruses). In addition, Gerry also edited his father’s vibraphone solo from that old recording from the early 60s into this recording. This piece took a special place in the album, remarkable in all respects. If you love jazz, you just have to hear this unique work – and say goodbye to Chick Corea …
Gerry Gibbs publishes Songs from my father with unreleased music by Chick Corea
Songs from my father is the highly anticipated new album from music scholar Gerry Gibbs. It is his thirteenth release as frontman, drummer, percussionist and bandleader, as well as arranger, Gibbs presents a two-disc masterpiece featuring four versions of his acclaimed trio that goes by the name Trasher Dream Trio.
Under his clever leadership, the band of jazz titans pay heartfelt tribute to the musical legacy of Gerry’s father, Terry Gibbs, one of the last living architects of be bop and innovators of the percussion instrument: the vibraphone.
For this purpose Gerry selected no more and no less than 18 melodies from his father’s vast discography and interpreted the material in a timeless way through his own compositional prism and lens, with ingenious and modern arrangements. Also Songs from my father has the last performance recorded with the great Chick Corea, piano genius who also passed away a few dates ago. It also includes one of the melodies Chick composed specifically for this project.
With Gibbs on drums, he has had the chance to record on this album with his stellar trios. Here you can enjoy excellent musicians such as Korea himself, Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, Patrice Rushen, Larry Goldings, Geoff Keezer and Christian McBride.
A global pandemic could not stop this prolific jazz man, but rather, on the contrary, positively inspired him leaving an echo of an impressive season of creative production. Gibbs presents this album fresh from his epic 2019 work titled Our People, which defies the musical genre. Some critics defined it as “cleverly overlapping pieces that often come close to cinematic … quite a feat.”
We also had access to his previous 2020 Emotional Pandemic, an 18-track album entirely composed and performed by his own person. The 8 instruments. In fact, this was the launch that caught the attention of Chick Corea himself. Korea asked the drummer the process for recording all the instruments. That minimal conversation evolved into the possibility of collaboration and the concept was born: it was possible to release a double album as a result of collaborations with four amazing triso, including the aforementioned collaboration with Chick and Ron Carter.
In this state of affairs, later Korea asked to become even more deeply involved in work, in music. He composed an original piece under the title Tango For Terry, dedicated especially to Terry Gibbs and even arranging two pieces for the album.
Gibbs comments “What he wanted to do seemed almost impossible with the covid. There was a lot of fear, travel, safety precautions and logistics. How do 4 trios coordinate when a disease spreads all over the world and in the USA? That was the challenge and yet Gibbs saw the opportunity and did not give up organizing several trips to capture the sounds. Without a doubt, he has been worth it.
“Weather or Not” Nice to hear graphically arranged material of Weather Report. Keep up with your creative mission! ~Wayne Shorter
“Gerry has created his own world on this recording. The amount of time and effort he brought to the project is astounding. The music itself is extremely wide ranging touching upon several distinct idioms …..quite impressive.” – Dave Liebman
It is unique and kind of madcap, the sign of a fertile artist plowing through all the ideas swirling around his brain. “Instead of creating one musical concept, I wanted it to sound like 16 trios, so that’s why the music was so eclectic.” Gerry Gibbs is the artist, and his new, two-disc set—one disc devoted to the blazing Weather Report, the second to his own diverse material—leads listeners through a fun house of styles. Disc One is devoted to Weather Report tribute, but it’s not nearly the lukewarm cover collection by aspiring fusioneers you might expect. (Because, perhaps, they might beat Zawinul and company at their own game?) Instead, Gibbs opts to re-imagine the material from the POV of an acoustic piano-led trio, the featured instrument played by luminous new talent Alex Collins, with brilliant Austrian-born Hans Glawischnig on bass. The sparks sure do fly on familiar melodies: “Palladium,” “Teen Town,” “Birdland,” naturally, and “Black Market.” There’s lots to dig into here, and you certainly don’t have to be a Weather Report fan to dig it. Disc Two features Gibbs cranking up the creative juices on a set of originals, traversing from flamenco to pulse-quickening funk, calypso, gospel Latin jazz, R&B and plenty of all-out swing. While Gibbs has tackled myriad projects in the past, from 2006‘s Thrasher Big Band project Live at Luna’s to 2010‘s The Electric Thrasher Orchestra Plays The Music of Miles Davis (’67-’75) and 2013‘s Grammy-nominated Thrasher Dream Trio (with Ron Carter and Kenny Barron), this rich two-CD set, his 11th as a bandleader, is his most audacious and fully-realized project to date, an early crowning achievement from a restless spirit and a triumphant, indefatigable artist.
It is unique and kind of madcap, the sign of a fertile artist plowing through all the ideas swirling around his brain. “Instead of creating one musical concept, I wanted it to sound like 16 trios, so that’s why the music was so eclectic.” Gerry Gibbs is the artist, and his new, two-disc set—one disc devoted to the blazing Weather Report, the second to his own diverse material—leads listeners through a fun house of styles. Disc One is devoted to Weather Report tribute, but it’s not nearly the lukewarm cover collection by aspiring fusioneers you might expect. (Because, perhaps, they might beat Zawinul and company at their own game?) Instead, Gibbs opts to reimagine the material from the POV of an acoustic piano-led trio, the featured instrument played by luminous new talent Alex Collins, with brilliant Austrian-born Hans Glawischnig on bass. The sparks sure do fly on familiar melodies: “Palladium,” “Teen Town,” “Birdland,” naturally, and “Black Market.” There’s lots to dig into here, and you certainly don’t have to be a Weather Report fan to dig it. Disc Two features Gibbs cranking up the creative juices on a set of originals, traversing from flamenco to pulse-quickening funk, calypso, gospel Latin jazz, R&B and plenty of all-out swing. While Gibbs has tackled myriad projects in the past, from 2006‘s Thrasher Big Band project Live at Luna’s to 2010‘s The Electric Thrasher Orchestra Plays The Music of Miles Davis (’67-’75) and 2013‘s Grammy-nominated Thrasher Dream Trio (with Ron Carter and Kenny Barron), this rich two-CD set, his 11th as a bandleader, is his most audacious and fully-realized project to date, an early crowning achievement from a restless spirit and a triumphant, indefatigable artist.
“Joe Zawinul always had the utmost respect for maestros Kenny Barron and Ron Carter. I am certain that their Thrasher Trio-mate Gerry Gibbs’ name would have been added to that select list had Joe been able to hear Gerry’s realization of the music of Weather Report as played by his new trio that includes Alex Collins on piano, Fender Rhodes, organ & vocals, plus Hans Glavishnig on acoustic bass (whose playing on this CD bears an uncanny resemblance to maestro Carter’s). Here is a unique reading of Weather Report’s music that is totally fun to listen to. As an insider, I can say that this album sheds new light on the WR canon while spotlighting the intrinsic talent and sounds of Gerry’s new band. I feel the better for having heard this recording.
Jaco would have loved Hans’ playing on “A Remark You Made” … I know that I do.
– Peter Erskine
Gerry, love your interpretations, really gives me lots of inspirations. Keep this up.
– Alex Acuna
Great musical interpretations by drummer/visionary Gerry Gibbs of the various songs originally recorded by supergroup Weather Report. Gerry’s drumming is impeccable throughout. The band really cooks!! A “must have” CD!
– Alphonse Mouzon
(Original Drummer and Founding Member of Weather Report)
Chairman of Tenacious Records
Gerry Gibbs and Thrasher People visit the Music of Weather Report with great re-interpretations and success, and if that wasn’t enough on this 2 CD set, you can hear the Thrasher Trio tackle Gerry Gibbs’ complex original compositions each of which tell a unique story like the Weather Report tunes… real impressive playing from everyone…this stuff ain’t easy folks!! They kill it!
– Randy Brecker
I am having so much fun listening to Gerry’s new trio cd celebrating the music of weather report. Totally swingin’ and lots of surprises. Gerry is a very interesting artist for me to listen to, he is not only a great drummer with tons of spirit and ideas but he is a great arranger and writer. His deep understanding of history and love of the music is always present as is his sense of humor. Hard swing, funk blues, a great shuffle and lots of soul, all the things I love about jazz music are constantly being addressed, taken apart, put back together backwards then forwards and inside out without being tongue in cheek or labored. New and fresh ideas being examined from many angles through the eyes of artists who know the roots. An oasis of swingin’ jazz at a time when it is really needed. Thank you Gerry!
This CD would not have been documented if it had not been for my Thrasher People Brothers, Alex and Hans. Special Thanks to Alex for taking my 12 arrangements and 16 originals and not only transcribing them from my computer mock ups but for memorizing all 28 songs and for going out of your ways every step of the way.
Thanks to Thadd – Your presence was felt all through out ! Never seen but felt for sure.
Special thank you’s to DW Drums Special Thank you to all at DW Drums. Special thank you to Don Lombardi, John Good and special thanks to Garrison
Special Thank you to Evans Drum Heads & Pure Sound Percussion. Huge Thanks to my brother Marco Soccoli for not just taking care of me, equipment wise, but stopping in and out of the recording sessions to give all his knowledge of different drum heads that he sent and brought to the studio for this recording. He helped me constantly change heads to different models on 15 different DW Drums used on these 2 CD’s
Special Thanks to Zildjian. Extra special Thanks to Kirsten Matt and Sarah Hagan for sending bells and special effects cymbals the day before recording started..Love you guys.
Thank you Vic Firth Drum Sticks, Humes and Berg Drum Bags
Special Thanks to my wife Kyeshie Gibbs. She was there during every minute in the studio all 5 days and had many great ideas during the tracking and mixing of these CD’s
Special Thanks as always to my Pops who encouraged me to go out every night and find the new members of THRASHER PEOPLE.
During the preparation for this recording a few key people really made some amazing things happen in many ways related to this recording. Much love to 2 of the best drummers on the planet – Mike Clark and Joey Heredia. Also huge thanks to Weather Report Alumni and 3 of the most important and influential musicians, Peter Erskine, Alex Acuna, Alphonse Mouzon, Thank you to Randy Brecker and Mike for their kind thoughts about the music after they heard the 2 CDs. One of the most knowledgeable and creative music writers in the music world Bill Milkowski. Special Thanks to Keyboard Wizard and Producer Nick Manson for some great imput. Thank you to Stan & Jerry (Owners of Pro Drum Shop in Hollywood California) for taking care of all my equipment over the last 25 years.
Thank you to all the amazing sound people involved – David Stoller & Mark Marciano and of course huge hugs and love to Nancy Marciano
Thanks to Whaling City Sound Team Neal Weiss, Dave Arruda Jr and Ginny Shea
This CD is dedicated to Neal Weiss for his 10 years of huge support, love, friendship and always great input and amazing care of all the projects we have done together for his wonder Whaling City Sound Label.