For an incredible eight decades now, feisty vibraphonist and jazz icon Terry Gibbs has demonstrated the sheer joy of performing. “Life is a gas!” he seems to be saying with his music. “Let’s do this!” In performance, he behaves like a exuberant fan of his own band, cheering his accompanists on, punctuating arrangements and solos with non-verbal interjections. His spirit was cultivated over the years, having played in significant jazz eras, with the formative giants of the genre, including Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in bebop and “the King of Swing,” Benny Goodman.
That same spirit is in abundance on Terry Gibbs 92 Years Young: Jammin’ at the Gibbs House, a collection of songs recorded live in Gibbs’ living room. All the tracks were done in a single take. Endings were discussed briefly or not at all. There was no rehearsal. This is old school, rare today, the kind of session sophisticated talents like Terry and not all that many others could tackle. Gibbs, accompanied by his son Gerry on drums, Mike Gurrola on bass, and John Campbell on piano, sparkles on vibes. His tone is impeccable and his energy belies his senior status. Gibbs’ decision to record one more performance, in a very long line of worthwhile recordings, is something to behold, celebrate and enjoy.