151

Good Vibes: A Life in Jazz

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Good Vibes: A Life in Jazz
Terry Gibbs with Cary Ginell
Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 0810845865
2003

Terry Gibbs' style as a storyteller is a lot like his style as one of the top vibes players in jazz history – spirited, frenetic, quirky and highly entertaining. And after nearly 70 years of performing, with everyone from Tommy Dorsey to Charlie Parker, Gibbs has a lot of stories to tell, many of them memorable, most of them hilarious.

A small, tough Jewish kid from the streets of Brooklyn, Gibbs started playing professionally at age 12. While on leave from the Army during World War II, he got wind of a strange music brewing in New York called bebop. Gibbs says he was so mesmerized by the new sound that he spent two solid weeks watching Bird and Dizzy on 52nd Street without once going home to sleep. He later spent about "three minutes" with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra, which he quit because it played music he says sounded "eighty years old," and enjoyed more meaningful stints with Buddy Rich, Woody Hermann and Benny Goodman. A frequent poll winner, he led his own group, the so-called "Dream Band," in Los Angeles in the late '50s, before settling comfortably into a decade of TV work with jazz-loving talk-show host Steve Allen, among others. Still active as he nears 80, Gibbs just this year released a well-received tribute to fellow vibes great Lionel Hampton.

Gibbs' lighthearted autobiography, co-written with Cary Ginell, effectively captures his fast-talking, wisecracking, enormously good-natured personality; he even has nice things to say about Buddy Rich and Benny Goodman! Expect plenty of bad jokes, Yiddish-isms, and anecdotes that don't always have a point. But never mind. Gibbs is one of the good guys in jazz, and his story's a good one, too.


Shop

More Articles

Read "Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall" Book Reviews Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Why Jazz? A Concise Guide" Book Reviews Why Jazz? A Concise Guide
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro" Book Reviews Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth" Book Reviews Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "The Band Photographs 1968-1969" Book Reviews The Band Photographs 1968-1969
by Doug Collette
Published: March 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!