The Gibbs Connection


Born Julius Grabenko in 1924, vibes master Terry Gibbs brought an incredible 40-year history into the sessions for his vibrant 1986 recording The Latin Connection. It's hard to quantify the impact of his innovations on the instrument, but a few stats bear mentioning: 65 albums, winner of three major jazz polls and creator of over 300 compositions, recorded by Nat "King" Cole, Les Brown, Cannonball Adderley, Count Basie and George Shearing to name just a few. It's a pretty glamorous resume.

He's worked closely with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco for several decades and has also traded fours with a list of legends including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Tito Puente. For the uninitiated, Gibbs spent three years in the military during World War II. He played on 52nd Street, gigged with Tommy Dorsey (1946 and 1948), Chubby Jackson (touring Scandinavia during 1947-1948), Buddy Rich (1948), Woody Herman's Second Herd (1948-1949), and Benny Goodman (1950-1952). He settled in Los Angeles in 1957, worked in the studios, led jazz orchestras (his late-'50s version was called the Terry Gibbs Dream Band) and was the musical director of The Steve Allen Show during the 1960s.

Balancing sensual ballads like "Flamingo" with spirited bebop like Parker's classic "Scrapple From The Apple" and a whirlwind Latin take on "Sing, Sing, Sing" Available in the Digital Only section, The Latin Connection swings and grooves throughout its nine tracks, with Gibbs leading an all-star cast featuring altoist Frank Morgan, pianist Sonny Bravo, bassist Bobby Rodriguez and three percussionists, including Puente playing timbales on three of the nine numbers.