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A Life in Jazz
Terry Gibbs -
Cary Ginell -
Terry Gibbs, legendary jazz vibraphonist and bandleader, was 12 years old when he kicked off his career as a professional musician, winning first place in an amateur performance. Born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn and possessing tremendous musical talent, Gibbs learned the ins and outs of bebop from pioneers like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell. In 1959 his ensemble, later dubbed The Dream Band, became the toast of Hollywood. Four decades, 65 albums, and 300 compositions later, his story is one of great substance-his foot—tapping music, revolutionary.
is a rollicking autobiography that tracks jazz from the turbulent post-war years through the rise of bebop, traversing its changes through the eyes of one of its greatest practitioners. Gibbs's hilarious, poignant, and always fascinating anecdotes reveal little-known attributes and quirks about legendary personalities such as Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Steve Allen, Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Billie Holiday, and many more. A foreword by Chubby Jackson, a discography, and an index round out this work.
Size: 6 x 8 3/4
978-0-8108-4586-2 • Hardback • March 2003 •
Studies in Jazz
Music / Genres & Styles / Jazz
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is a professional vibraphonist and bandleader.
is the owner of Sound Thinking Music Research and a partner of the Origin Jazz Library record label. He has published numerous book and articles.
Chapter 1 A Real Go-Getter
Chapter 2 Dizzy, Bird, and a Bebop Breakdown
Chapter 3 Fifty-Second Street
Chapter 4 My Three Minutes with Tommy Dorsey
Chapter 5 "Shooby Yockson" in Sweden
Chapter 6 Buddy Rich: Mr. Nice Guy
Chapter 7 Woody Herman and the Four Brothers Band
Chapter 8 Bellson, Shavers, and Dorsey (Again?)
Chapter 9 Benny Goodman: El Foggo
Chapter 10 Finally, a Full-Time Bandleader
Chapter 11 El Foggo Rides Again
Chapter 12 Terry G. and Terry P.
Chapter 13 California, Here I Come!
Chapter 14 The Dream Band
Chapter 15 The Coltrane Connection
Chapter 16 What's a Regis Philbin?
Chapter 17 Operation: Entertainment
Chapter 18 Hi-Ho, Steverino!
Chapter 19 Phil Spector: Mr. Overtime
Chapter 20 Three Women—Four Marriages
Chapter 21 My Friend, Buddy D.
Chapter 22 Goodbye for Now
As interesting as [Terry's] basic life story is, however, it is the anecdotes about the plethora of notable jazz musicians who were part of his personal and professional life that give this volume a special dimension. Gibbs has a natural flair for telling tales in a way that gives special insight into the character and personality of his associates. He tells these stories with a terrific sense of humor and an unstinting candor, never honey-coating the world of jazz….
Terry Gibbs is the world's greatest bandleader...he always had a real Jazz band with the greatest players in the world.
One of the greats was Terry Gibbs, who brought something to the show besides his great vibe-playing - great personality and a great sense of humor.
Terry Gibbs is not only one of the greatest jazz vibraphonists of all time, with his warm sound, remarkable technique and fertile imagination, but he is a masterful storyteller. His enthusiastic, informative and often witty stories add to the legacy of jazz history. Terry Gibbs has played with the greats of the past 60 years, and fortunately is still with us to tell us what he remembers, in typically colorful style.
Scott Yanow, author of The Jazz Singer and Bebop
Not only one of the world's greatest vibraphonists, but a wonderful storyteller too. Read on!
Chuck Niles, Jazz DJ
Anyone who's ever spent time with Gibbs knows that in addition to his enormous skills as a vibist, he is one of jazz's great stortytellers. This immensely entertaining book reads like a marathon conversation touching every aspect of Gibbs' career, from his early infatuation with bebop to the recent release of an album by his '50s and '60s "Dream Band." Be prepared to laugh, to cry, to fully experience the inner world of the bebop life.
; Los Angeles Times
Gibbs' style as a storyteller is a lot like his style as one of the top vibes players in jazz-spirited, frenetic, quirky and highly entertaining. And after nearly 70 years of performing, with everyone for Tommy Dorsey to Charlie Parker, Gibbs has a lot of stories to tell, many of them memorable, most of them hilarious….Gibbs' lighthearted autobiography… effectively captures his fast-talking, wisecracking, enormously good-natured personality…his story's a good one.
All About Jazz
…focuses on his career highlights, Terry's professional activities and takes the reader through the tumultuous life of a young and exceptional jazz player. The book tracks postwar jazz to the embellishment and creation of bebop as seen from the vantage and ponderance of one [of the most] creative, virtuoso vibraphonist ever to play the instrument…. The book chronicles Terry's musical contributions, plus personal and hilarious anecdotes, quirks, and attributes of many of the jazz and music personalities he has worked with and associated with over his long and brilliant career.
A. J. Julian, Director/Editor
; Woody Herman Society
Most entertaining! Never shy with his point of view, [Gibbs] comments on fellow-musicians with a welcome mix of frankness and generosity.
Full of humour, insight, pathos and musical revelation…Most readers will find much of value in Gibb's memoir.
Jazz Journal International
Gibbs…is a national treasure, and his book…provides invaluable insight into what it was like to live and play with performers ranging from swingers Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich to boppers like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell.
One of the most entertaining pieces of oral history I have read in a long time…Great stuff! A must.
A story that ebbs and flows like a good jazz improvisation...a never-a-dull-moment view of the jazz life – Gibbs seems to have known or played with everyone of consequence...Hard to beat.
...a good read!
...Gibbs' book provides absorbing reading, whether he's recounting humorous show business experiences, giving his take on racial discrimination or describing his handling of stars' ego "issues"...Gibbs provides good lessons in musical choices and human relations.
; All About Jazz
The only band I've ever had in all the shows I've ever done was The Terry Gibbs Sextet...I probably didn't realize it then but Terry had assembled the greatest players in the world. God, they were good. And there standing in front of them was Terry Gibbs. What a whirlwind he was. When I think about that show and those days, I get a terrific sense of pride.
I believe that the legacy of [Gibbs]'s artistic achievement will live on throughout the millennium.
Terry Gibbs will go down in history as one of the most influential and dedicated musicians of our time. His
and small groups were always swinging and classy.
Terry Gibbs was smack dab in the middle of the great be-bop revolution...no one is better equipped to tell the stories in this book. He has great wit and a fantastic memory.
Terry is a living legend in the real sense.
Buddy De Franco
For those of us who truly loved the Big Band Era, the sound of Terry Gibbs's Dream Band was pure heaven...I was actually in the audience during those 1959 recordings, and you can hear me yelling. I think I'm entitled to some royalties...as my good friend Ron Clark once said, 'Terry Gibbs is no vibraphoney...He's the real thing.'
When he talks and when he plays, Terry Gibbs tells us stories, and in these pages he's told his best one yet, his own. It is a fascinating tale that covers many of jazz's greatest years and features a multitude of its greatest players, and it unfolds like a great Gibbs solo, with never a dull moment.
Dan Morgenstern, director, Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University; dean of jazz historians; editor, Studies in Jazz series
• Winner, Deems Taylor Award 2004; ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research_Best Research in Recorded Jazz Music, Best History 2004
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