Terry Gibbs

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Explosion Review

by Ken Dryden

Terry Gibbs is at his very best fronting a big band, as he often did in the mid-'50s and early '60s. The 1961 Explosion sessions at the Summit in Hollywood find him and his band in top form, with outstanding soloists like Conte Candoli, Bill Perkins, Frank Rosolino, and Richie Kamuca, to name only a few, though none of the musicians (other than Gibbs) is identified anywhere on the album jacket. The leader also gets his share of the solo spotlight. Highlights include Al Cohn's burning blues "The Big Cat," Bill Holman's mellow "Soft Eyes," and a smoking take of Charlie Parker's "Billie's Bounce." Comedian Jerry Lewis' liner notes are little more than praise for Gibbs, without detailing why this band is worth listening to and who the major players are. [After this Mercury LP was unavailable for a quarter century or more, it was reissued on CD in 1991 by Contemporary as Dream Band, Vol. 5: The Big Cat.]

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