A Fascinating Journey Through Jazz History
In a recent column of Mondays With Morgan at LondonJazz News, music journalist Morgan Enos had the opportunity to explore the life and career of legendary vibraphonist Terry Gibbs. With more than eight decades of experience, Gibbs has seen and participated in a significant portion of jazz history. Today, his final musical offering is the Terry Gibbs Legacy Band’s “The Terry Gibbs Songbook,” featuring a sextet performing his originals with added lyrics from renowned lyricists.
The Making of “The Terry Gibbs Songbook”
The album features tenor saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen, pianist and tenor saxophonist Tom Ranier, vocalist Danny Bacher, bassist Mike Gurrola, and Terry Gibbs’ son, Gerry Gibbs, on drums. It started with Gibbs seeking a lyricist for a song he had composed for his granddaughter, intending it to be a lullaby. This led to connections with various lyricists, who contributed lyrics for several of his songs.
How did vocalist Danny Bacher get involved?
Gibbs asked Neal Weiss, the owner of Whaling City Sound, for a recommendation for a vocalist who could sing the songs. Weiss sent Gibbs a recording of Danny Bacher, a multi-talented artist who plays reeds, sings, acts, and does comedy. Impressed by Bacher’s performances on both a swing tune and a ballad, Gibbs invited him to participate in the album.
A Unique Approach to the Music
As the first person to sing these songs, Bacher was able to interpret the lyrics in his own way, telling his own story through the music. This approach delighted Gibbs, who appreciated the creative freedom and individuality that Bacher brought to the album.
Celebrating the Tenor Saxophone and the Legacy of Jazz
The album also showcases the talent of tenor saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen, both of whom Gibbs admires. Their performances, along with the contributions of Tom Ranier and the rest of the band, make for a perfect blend of music that Gibbs is proud to call his final offering.
Memories of Zoot, Al, and Stan
Gibbs also shares memories of his time with Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, and Stan Getz in the Woody Herman band. Despite initial tensions with Sims over a baseball team position, the musicians soon bonded over their shared love of music, illustrating the power of music to bring people together.