Sunday, May 14, 2017

from a Jazz Storyteller

"Something A Little Different"
By Odean Pope

"Max Roach was the only guy who produced Hasaan Ibn Ali because he's in that Elmo Hope, Thelonious Monk school. His technique was so great, I've never heard a piano player play like him. He could make the most complex piece sound good, he could make the simplest piece sound good. I'll never forget, when Hasaan would get on the keyboard all of the tenor players would get off the bandstand except for 'Trane, Jimmy Heath and myself. harmonic concept was so advanced they couldn't hear it and couldn't play with him.

He lived about two blocks from where I lived and one day when I was around 15, I was in the basement practicing and he came past and knocked on the window. He asked me if I'd be up for practicing with him. That's how I trained and that's how I got together with 'Trane cause he was practicing with him already.

I had the opportunity to play with Max Roach for the last 22 years of his life and I can't overemphasize how much I learned from this great man, because not only was he one of the greatest percussionists that walked planet earth, he was also a great humanitarian. He always liked to share his ideas and concepts with his group. He had a keen eye for people who were striving to be something a little different.

When Jimmy Myritt introduced me to him in 1967, I worked with Max for one year. That one year told me that music was going to be my livelihood because I had traveled all over the world with Max Roach, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Cowell, Jimmy Myritt on bass and myself."

Second Story

"I came out to California to do studio work because I play percussion but that wasn't my thing.

The only person I ever did studio work for was Phil Spector. He was a big fan of mine and he gave me more money than I ever made in my life.

He was recording John Lennon. I should mention that Phil Spector loved jazz. All the cats he hired to play on his records were jazzers except for the guitar players and the drummers they were Rock and Rollers. The drummers (Keltner/Blaine) understood jazz, came up playing jazz but their forte was Rock.

So I'm home, it's about 10 o'clock at night and really not feeling good and I get a call from my drummer Frank Capp. He said, "we're recording John Lennon and Phil needs a vibe player." I said, "Frank, you know I don't do studio work forget it." Well I get a call 10 minutes later and Phil gets on the phone and says "Terry Gibbs from the Steve Allen Show, ba, ba ba ba da da....(singing the theme song). He said, "come down and I'll give you ten doubles which was 10x your salary. I said, "Phil, I'm not feeling well I can't make it.

I get a call like 10 minutes later and Spector is singing the theme song again. I had never even met the guy. It sounded like they were in trouble so I go down there. I walk in and get stoned just walking in there. Lennon is surrounded by 9 Japanese girls. There playing a playback and I go over to my drummer and I hear "Take 48."

I said, "Frank, you've been playing this piece of shit 48x? He said "yea, until he gets what he wants." So Phil sees me and says "Terry Gibbs, da da da da da....I said, "Frank, where's the music?" He says, "there is no music." I said, "what am I going to play." He said, "ba, ba ba ba bop." I said, "you called me down here to play this?" Capp said, "he's giving you ten doubles."

We went till 4 in the morning and Take 85. The date is over and they wheel out a cake the size of a big table. All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see John Lennon running and he dives into the cake like its a swimming pool. Immediately there are these pop guns going off all around me. I freaked out and dove under the piano. I thought it was a real gun.

Hal Blaine came over to the piano looked underneath and said. "Come on out Terry, they do this all the time."

By Terry Gibbs

from archives of Jake D Feinberg 

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