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Today in Music – 1924 – Happy 89th Birthday – Jazz Giant Terry Gibbs!

Terry GibbsI’ll confess that when I think of the last name Gibbs, I think football -Joe Gibbs Hall of Fame coach for the Redskins, and not vibraphone. But that will probably change after learning today that one of the best jazz vibraphonist Terry Gibbs was born on this date in 1924!! Now I’ve written before that I love the vibes and the list of players in my library includes: Gary Burton, Bobby Hutcherson. Cal Tjader, Walt Dickenson, Stefon Harris, Dave Pike and a couple of others, but no Terry Gibbs. I think I’ve seen the name, but never heard the music. Once again shame on me! A quick trip to Wikipedia revealed the basics:

Terry Gibbs (born Julius Gubenko on 13 October 1924) is an American jazz vibraphonist and band leader He has performed and/or recorded with Tommy Dorsey, Chubby Jackson, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Louie Bellson, Charlie Shavers, Mel Tormé, Buddy DeFranco, and others. Gibbs also worked in the film and TV studios in Los Angeles.

While All About Jazz provides some of highlights of his career

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 band 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, and Alice McLeod, who later married John Coltrane.    Settling in Los Angeles in 1957, he formed his big band known as “The Dream Band.” Comprised of Mel Lewis, Joe Maini, Frank Rosolino, Conte Candoli and Richard Kamuca, they were named “Best Band in the World” in the Downbeat ’62 Critic’s Poll. Read More

You know the above accomplishments may be enough for anyones’s  career but Gibbs has kept right on rolling along again From Wikipedia:

In the late 1950s, he appeared on NBC’s The Steve Allen Show, on which he regularly played lively vibraphone duets with the entertainer and composer. In 1997, he appeared on Steve Allen’s 75th Birthday Celebration on PBS. Gibbs was also the bandleader on the short-lived That Regis Philbin Show. .

In the late 1950s, he appeared on NBC’s The Steve Allen Show, on which he regularly played lively vibraphone duets with the entertainer and composer. In 1997, he appeared on Steve Allen’s 75th Birthday Celebration on PBS. Gibbs was also the bandleader on the short-lived That Regis Philbin Show. Over the  course of his solo career he has released  65 albums. As co-leader of 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.  He’s won at least three major jazz polls and penned more than 300 compositions that have been recorded by Nat Cole, Les Brown, Cannonball Adderly, Count Basie, and George Shearing, and more. Gibbs has also played with many of the giants of the jazz  including: clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Tito Puente. His ongoing collaboration with Buddy DeFranco has spanned 18 years and is stilling going strong!!!

I listened this morning to a reissue of his .1963 release Explosion Terry Gibbs and His Exciting Big Band. Now I am really not a big band fan, but many of the tracks on this album may just make me change my mind!!  So while this old man had never heard of Terry Gibbs it certainly seems that he has left an amazing legacy for all of us. I for one want to find out even more about that legacy!!

Here’s the: Woody Herman Alumni Band Plays the Arrangements of Shorty Rogers – Directed by Terry Gibbs. Presented as part of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute (lajazzinstitute.org) event “Modern Sounds”, 20 October 2011, LAX Marriott Hotel. They are playing “Keeper Of The Flame” composed and arranged by Shorty Rogers. Happy 89th Birthday – Terry Gibbs – I promise I’ll know more about your music when you celebrate the big 90 next year!!

 

year!! .