Terry Gibbs is a world famous bandleader, composer, and jazz vibraphonist who has created or performed on sixty five albums and written more than three hundred compositions, many of which have been recorded by the likes of Cannonball Adderly, Count Basie, and Nat Cole. Often recognized for his musicianship, Gibbs had a streak of best vibraphonist awards from Down Beat and Metronome magazines from the years 1950 through 1955.
Terry Gibbs was born Julius Gubenko in Brooklyn, New York on October 13, 1924. He would later change his first name when people started calling him Terry after the boxer Terry Young, and would alter his last name when it was promoted as Gibbs while on tour with the bandleader Judy Kayne. He started on the drums as a young kid, but would sneak into the room of his older brother Sol in order to play his xylophone. Gibbs would eventually take lessons on the xylophone and even won a radio competition called the Major Bowes Amateur Hour Contest at the age of twelve. Even though he displayed amazing ability on the xylophone, Gibbs would continue to play drums, touring both professionally and while in the US Army during World War II.
After his term of service had ended, Gibbs fell in love with the bebop he heard while watching Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in New York City nightclubs. His love was so strong that he turned down a scholarship to study tympanis at the Julliard School of Music in order to play vibes on the jazz scene. Gibbs took his vibraphone skills on the road with Chubby Jackson, Buddy Rich, Tommy Dorsey, and a stint with Woody Herman in his Four Brothers Band at the end of the 1940’s. Gibbs joined the Benny Goodman Sextet in 1951 and later started his own group, “The Dream Band” in 1957. The Dream Band was awarded “Best Band in the World” from Down Beat Magazine’s 1962 critics’ poll.
Terry Gibbs has carried his musical success over to television by acting as musical director of both The Regis Philbin Show and Operation Entertainment, appearing on The Mel Torme Show, and as a frequent performer on The Steve Allen Show, where he would teach Allen how to play the Vibraphone. In 2003, Gibbs penned his autobiography titled “Good Vibes: A Life in Jazz”.