CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Four Classic Albums

Avid AMSC 1095




Terry Gibbs

1. Seven Come Eleven

2. Lonely Dreams

3. Dickie’s Dream

4. Imagination

5. King City Stomp

6. Pretty Face

7. The Continental

8. Bless My Soles

9. Nutty Notes

Terry Gibbs – Vibes

Terry Pollard – Piano

Herman Wright – Bass

Nils-Bertil Dahlander (a.k.a. Bert Dale) – Drums


10. Nothing To it

11. Mean To Me

12. Haunted

13. Er-Bee-I

14. Gibberish

15. I’ll Remember April

16. Soupy’s On

17. Then It Happens

Terry Gibbs – Vibes

Terry Pollard – Piano

Herman Wright – Bass

Jerry Segal – Drums


Vibes On Velvet

1. Autumn Nocturne

2. Lonesome Streets

3. Adios

4. Leaving Town

5. For You, For Me, Forever More

6. The Moon Was Yellow

7. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

8. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

9. Mood Indigo

11. Lullabye Of Spring

12. Two Sparkling Eyes

Terry Gibbs – Vibes

Hal McKusick – Tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax

Sam Markowitz – Alto sax

Frankie Socolow – Tenor sax

Raymond Black – Tenor sax

Al Epstein – Baritone sax

Terry Pollard – Piano

Gerald Segal – Drums

Herman Wright – Bass

Turk Van Lake – Guitar

A Jazz Band Ball

13. The Dipsy Doodle

14. Where Or When

15. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You

16. Hollywood Blues

17. Tangerine

18. Just Friends

19. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise

20. Memories Of You

21. Broadway

22. Allen’s Alley

Terry Gibbs – Vibes, marimba

Vic Feldman – Vibes, xylophone

Larry Bunker – Vibes, xylophone

Lou Levy – Piano

Max Bennett – Bass

Mel Lewis – Drums


In a foreword to the Terry Gibbs autobiography Good Vibes: A Life In Jazz by Terry Gibbs and Cary Ginell, the jazz writer Dan Morgenstern says: “Terry Gibbs is a study in time and motion. His time is impeccable, no tempo too fast for him and he never fails to swing. And when he plays he is in constant motion”. Avid Jazz has put together a compilation that allows the listener to hear Gibbs deliver on the first part of the quotation, and imagine the second part.


The two albums that comprise this CD are Terry Gibbs and Mallets-A-Plenty which are quartet sessions that in addition to Gibbs, feature a fiercely talented but unheralded young pianist from Detroit, Terry Pollard. She had been discovered by Gibbs and collaborated with him from 1953 to 1957 starting when she was only 22. Together they were a daunting combination and displayed an astonishing degree of empathy. Of the 17 tracks on this CD, more than half of them were compositions by Gibbs which were nothing more than head arrangements on which he and Pollard could exchange their swinging ideas as exemplified on King City Stomp, Bless My Soles, Nothing To It and Gibberish. Each of these tunes showcased Gibbs’ rapid mallets and percussive feel, both of which confirmed how close he was to Lionel Hampton in style.

Terry Pollard’s contribution to these two albums cannot be underestimated. Pollard was a hard-swinging, sharp pianist, who could double on vibes when called on, although she does not do so on any of these tracks. As for her pianist skills, she offers an outstanding high-energy single-note solo on Nutty Notes. In contrast, on the lovely ballad Mean To Me, she gives a soulful sixteen-bar interlude that demonstrates her versatility. Not to be outdone when it comes to sensitivity, Gibbs shows that he can deliver a discreet and tasteful approach to ballads as he shines on his own composition Lonely Dreams and the Burke/Van Heusen gem Imagination. These two albums are representative of the Gibbs quartet at its best.


On this second CD the featured albums are Vibes On Velvet and A Jazz Band Ball and they could not be any more different from each other than they are. The first is Gibbs in a soft and (marsh) mellow (sic) frame with his vibes playing over a small band using smarmy arrangements. The second features three standout vibes players in an exploratory mood, trading four-bar exchanges, supported by a lively rhythm section anchored by Mel Lewis on drums.

Record labels often are not satisfied with the artist they have, and thus try to make that person something they are not. With Vibes On Velvet, the intention was to expand the audience for Gibbs’ playing, from the jazz fan to the easy-listening audience. With arrangements from Manny Albam, the offerings were suited to background music and create a homogeneity of mood for a Sunday afternoon by the fire. While Gibbs’ technique and versatility were readily on display throughout the twelve tracks, he would have hardly raised a sweat during the recording session. Not much can be said about the material chosen for the recording date apart from the fact that the tunes were mostly well-known compositions and reflective of the time. In fact Boulevard Of Broken Dreams was a pop hit for Tony Bennett in 1950. Frank Sinatra recorded The Moon Was Yellow in 1958 and had a semi-hit with a rather over the top Latin arrangement by Nelson Riddle. Gibbs’ own compositions Leaving Town, Lullabye Of Spring, and Two Sparkling Eyes are somewhat more successfully rendered because he was more committed to their interpretation.

A Jazz Band Ball was a successful outing not only because it had three top-notch vibe exponents playing standout charts from Manny Album, but also the rhythm section (Levy/Bennett/Lewis) would push everyone to be at the top of their game. The programme is composed almost entirely of standards, but with a bop title thrown in for good measure, and lets the front line challenge each other regardless of whether it is a ballad or a swinger. Leading off with The Dipsy Doodle from the Larry Clinton band-book, the tune opens with two romping choruses each from Gibbs, Bunker and Feldman, then followed by an exchange of four bars each in the same order. Gene Roland, who for years penned charts for the Stan Kenton Band wrote Hollywood Blues with Gibbs switching to marimba, followed by Bunker and Feldman on xylophone with a great pop-up solo from Lou Levy on piano. Levy was one of those West Coast bop pianists who flew under the radar on his own, but was a first–class accompanist who spent many years with both Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. Regardless of the track, Gibbs, Bunker and Feldman swing like mad with originality and colour, and make for a more than satisfying excursion.

A reissue that is chock-full of Terry Gibbs in top form, with the added presence of Terry Pollard who was a gifted but under-appreciated pianist.

Pierre Giroux

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: