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Sunday, August 20, 2023

Swingin' With Terry Gibbs


Slittin' Sam

Swingin' With Terry Gibbs and His Orchestra
EmArcy MG 36103

From the back cover: Although Terry Gibbs has been heard in a variety of moods and styles on his previous long playing released this album will come as a surprise to the year to many Gibbs fans. Heard perviously with his quartet (in Terry Gibbs on MG36047 and Mallets A-Plenty on MG36075) and in a series of ballads accompanied by a saxophone section and rhythm (Vibes On Velvet, MG36064) he now comes to  you for the first time in a setting no less ideally suited for him, and in many ways the most exciting yet – a big, swinging band.

Nothing but the best was good enough for Terry on an occasion like this, and the best meant New York's finest arranging talent as well as a troupe of sidemen capable of ding the utmost justice to the scores. For his trumpet section Terry had Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal, Nick Travis, Al De Risi and Don Elliott (with Don doubling as mellophonist for his solos). On trombone there were such distinguished men as Chauncey Welsch, Bob Brookmeyer, Tommy Mitchell and Urbie Green. The saxophones were Sam Marowitz and Hal McKusick on altos; Frank Socolow and Al Cohn on tenors and Al Epstein on baritone. For his rhythm section there was the redoubtable Miss Terry Pollard, as usual, at the keyboard; Herman Wright on bass; Jerry Segal on drums for Let's Wail, Julie's Bugle and Bewitched, and Osie Johnson drumming on the other titles. Turk van Lake, the excellent guitarist, also known as Vanig Hovsepian, played throughout this album.

Let's Wail was composed by Terry Gibbs and arranged by Ernie Wilkins. An up-tempo blues in the Woody Herman style, it features solos by Gibbs, Cohn and Terry Polland. Night Cap, which was composed and arranged by Ernie Wilkins, includes a mellophone solo by Don Elliott. Just Plain Meyer, composed and arranged buy Bob Brookmeyer (the title is Terry's predictable way of abbreviating Bobby's last name) is a bright-tempted item on which the band achieves a modern Fletcher Henderson sound. The tenor solo is by Al Cohn.

Heads Or Tails was composed by Gibbs and arranged by Brookmeyer. Notice the pulsating block voicing a la Basie in the last chorus, the relentless swinging of Terry's vibes. Miss Pollard is heard briefly on piano. Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe is a Bob Brookmeyer arrangement featuring a simple melodic approach and almost a spiritual feel in the background. Terry plays beautifully sensitive vibes here; Don Elliott is again heard on mellophone.

Funky Serenade, composed and arranged by Manny Albam, hits a medium swinging groove with vibes and bass featured. Bewitched is a fine Manny Albam arrangement, starting with Al De Risi's open trumpet. Al Epstein has the melody lead on baritone; in the tronbone passage Urbie has the first two measures and the rest is Brookmeyer.

Slittin' Sam (the Saychett Man), an Al Epstein composition arranged by Manny Albam, is an up-tempo, puckish, minor theme with solos by Gibbs, Brookmeyer, Cohn and Pollard.

Al Cohn wrote the arrangement of Duke Ellinton's I Didn't Know About You, a slow, pretty treatment featuring fine saxophone section work in the background and Terry's most melodic vibes mood.

Julie's Bugle (short for Julius Gubenko's nose – and anyone who doesn't know that this is Terry's square monicker is a square) is another Al Cohn arrangement. 

Gubi (short for Gubenko, and let's not go into that again) was composed by Terry and arranged by Al Cohn. It's another minor theme, with solos by Don Elliott and the two Terries.

It's a cinch that Terry Gibbs had a ball on this session, wailing in front of a fine band with the kind of men and arrangements that were after his own heart – and it's a cinch that you will agree this is one of the best sessions in his illustrious ten-year history as a top jazzman.

Funky Serenade
Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe
Just Plain Meyer
Let's Wail
Heads Or Tails
Slittin' Sam (The Saychett Man)
I Didn't Know About You
Night Cap
Julie's Bugle

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark, I never heard of Terry Gibbs before. This was a great selection. It was like everyone was playing at number 10 on the dial. Very solid.


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