Terry Gibbs

ASCAP Jazz Living Legend Award

Terry GibbsTerry Gibbs, New York native, one of the preeminent vibes players in jazz as well as a notable composer as well, started life as Julius Gubenko in a musical family. A drummer in his early years, Terry’s musical career began to blossom after he won the Major Bowes Amateur Hour Contest at the age of twelve. After military service during World War II, Gibbs returned to New York to take up the vibraphone and play in the bebop style. A major highlight of Gibbs’ early career was a stint with Woody Herman’s big band. Terry stood out as vibes player and a scat singer on the Herman hit, "Lemon Drop." For a time, Gibbs co-led a sextet with Louie Bellson and Charlie Shavers; he later joined the Benny Goodman Sextet. He was voted the top vibes player in several Downbeat and Metronome polls in the 1950s. During that same period, Gibbs became a familiar musical presence on the then-new medium of television, first as bandleader on The Mel Tormé Show and later as musical director of The Regis Philbin Show, The Steve Allen Show and Operation Entertainment. Gibbs organized his famous Dream Band in the late 1950s with Conte Candoli and Mel Lewis. In recent years, he has remained active, touring with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and recording. His recent honors include the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his autobiography, Good Vibes, and induction into the Rutgers University American Jazz Hall of Fame and the UCLA-Duke Ellington Master of Jazz.