15.01. – Happy Birthday !!! Gerry Gibbs was born in New York City on January 15, 1964. His father is jazz vibraphone legend & bandleader Terry Gibbs. Gerry grew up in Southern California and started playing the drums at the age of 4. By the time he was 7 years old, Gerry had already appeared on a few Television shows.
On The Steve Allen Show in 1971, Gerry played a 3 minute drum solo and later, on the show To Tell The Truth, Gerry traded drum choruses with TV celebrity Bob Crane (who played Hogan on the hit TV show Hogan’s Heroes).
By the time he was 18, Gerry had already become a professional musician. He worked steadily with his father’s many groups, featuring numerous configurations, performing frequently in Southern California as well as touring. Between ages 18-22, Gerry had already performed as a sideman with: Alice Coltrane, Woody Shaw, Donald Byrd, Buddy DeFranco, Harold Land, Benny Maupin, Doug Carne, Larry Gales, Horace Tapscott, Frank Morgan, Conte Candoli, Frank Rosolino, Alan Broadbent, Ernie Watts, Billy Childs as well as Parliament Funkadelic and Rose Royce, among many others.
In 1987, at age 23 and seeking greater challenge and exposure in the mecca of the jazz-music scene, Gerry packed his bags to relocate to New York City. Within his first 3 weeks of arriving, Gerry took over for drummer Winard Harper, 6 nights a week, as the house drummer for The Blue Note Jazz Club ‘After Hours Band’ (led by saxophonist Justin Robinson and which also included pianist STephen Scott). During this time, Winard Harper & Philip Harper of The Harper Brothers would call upon Gerry to be sub for Winard during local and European Gigs.
Gerry continued on becoming sought after both as a sideman and as a leader and his performance schedule included numerous domestic and international touring. His many past projects, during his early years in NY, included leading an adventurous Keyboard Trio featuring: Brad Mehldau, Billy Childs & Greg Kurstin (Mega-Pop Producer/Keyboardist). It featured 13 keyboards and drums!
Another Trio project, The Third Trio from the Sun from 1999 – 2002, included the use of 25 instruments between them and featured alto sax legend Arthur Blythe along with 4 African Dancers. In 2000, the trio released First Visit (VIEWPOINT RECORDS).
During the early 2000′s, Gerry performed concerts that featured his writing abilities. Among them, a 40-piece ensemble consisting of Big Band with Gospel Choir, Rapper, Sitar and 6 piece Rhythm section. The ensemble was selected to open up for New Orleans piano legend Dr John.
Gerry also found time to lead an 18-piece big band for which he wrote and/or arranged all of the music. The band is captured in the live CD recording: Gerry Gibbs & The Thrasher Big Band – LIVE AT LUNA (Whaling City Sound Records). The CD garnered 3.5 stars in DownBeat magazine and went to #41 on the Jazz Week. The Thrasher Big Band also backed up live in Concert jazz luminaries terry Gibbs, Clark Terry, James Moody & Jon Hendricks. Gerry’s earlier bands were often a sought after choice for performing at the world famous Village Gate in NYC between 1992-1995. In a 3 year period, his various projects performed 18 one-week engagements to packed audiences. Gerry would later take one of his well-rehearsed bands out on the road. It was during an engagement in Los Angeles that Gerry and his band caught the eye of Drummer/Producer Srix Hooper which led to Gerry’s first signing by a major label as a solo artist. In 1995, Gerry finally released his first CD for the (Qwest/ Warner Bros) label. The CD was produced by Stix Hooper of The Jazz Crusaders with Executive Producer Quincy Jones and featured Gerry in both the drumming and writing chair composing and arranging all of his original music. Gerry has gone on to record 7 more CDs under his own name for various record labels. His most recent CD is the Trio Recording: Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio, featuring Kenny Barron & Ron Carter (Whaling City Sound Records). (At the time of this writing, the CD has reached # 4 on the Jazz Radio Charts in its first few weeks.)