Terry Gibbs Legacy Band: The Terry Gibbs Songbook

The veteran vibesman doesn't hit the metal here but plays a short piano solo and lets Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen et al take the spotlight


In the days when JJ awarded stars at the end of a review, I gave five to the Terry Gibbs album 92 Years Young: Jammin’ At The Gibbs House (August 2014). I wrote that throughout, he “displays a seemingly effortless, inventive and staggering virtuosity that would be the envy of any vibraphonist a quarter of his ageless age”.

Terry had announced that it was to be his last recording, but nine years on son Gerry persuaded him to record 15 songs – with largely forgettable lyrics – by writers Steve Allen, Arthur Hamilton, Michael Dees and Bobby Troup. New York singer Danny Bacher (who appears on all tracks) does his best to invest them with meaning. And tenorists Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen and Tom Ranier (also the pianist), ably supported by drummer Gerry Gibbs and bassist Mike Gurrola, keep things moving along at the required tempos.

Unfortunately, Terry is heard only briefly, offering a “2 finger piano solo”, the tenor soloists are not identified in the accompanying notes, and the presence of violinists on several tracks is not acknowledged. It’s good to hear Terry happily recalling some golden-age and latter-day jazz instrumentalists with other members of the quartet/sextet on Now’s The Time To Groove.

The TGLB illustrates Gibbs’ unflagging talents as a composer and arranger, while the hand-picked saxophonists rise to the occasion on every cut. In an autobiographical note, Terry explains “Every record date that I produce has to be fun. We recorded a lot, we laughed a lot and now I had the makings of what I thought would be a great CD.” Scott Hamilton agrees:”I’m so happy Terry called me for this. I had never heard any of these songs even though I’ve been listening to Terry forever. And he never told me he was writing songs. I loved them all, especially the ballads.” So do I but without the indomitable man cavorting on vibes, this is a disappointing postscript to 92 Years Young.

Let’s Go To Rio; Those Eyes, Those Lips, That Nose, That Face, That Girl; I Was Loved; Now’s The Time To Groove; The House That Might Have Been; Nina; I Can Hardly Wait For Saturday Night; If I Were You; Play And Sing; Lonely Days; And That’s Why They Call It The Blues; Say Goodbye; Stay With Me Tonight; If I Knew Then; Sweet Young Song Of Love (71.53)
Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen (ts); Tom Ranier (p, ts); Danny Bacher (v); Mike Gurrola (b); Gerry Gibbs (d); Terry Gibbs (2 finger p, v, on track 4). Glendale, CA, 27 December 2022.
Whaling City Sound WCS134