Terry Pollard – A Detroit Jazz Legend
Pianist and vibraphonist Terry Pollard (1931-2009) was one of the leading jazz musicians in the thriving Detroit jazz scene of the 1940s and 50s. She was a wellknown figure in her hometown as early as 1948, but it was not until 1953 when her musical talent achieved national prominence, after Terry Gibbs—USA’s top vibraphonist—asked her to join his quartet for a country-wide tour. Both played with such authority, that Terry ended up tempering Gibbs’ usual irrepressibility with the sobriety of her piano, the sensitive eloquence that flows from her solos, and her uncanny ability to match Gibbs in the hard swinging tunes.
This CD set gathers the best of Pollard’s piano, highlighting the only album she recorded as a leader, but including too the best of her performances with the groups of Terry Gibbs and guitarist Dick Garcia. These are some memorable moments of her short career, brilliant and wonderfully pulsating, full of consistently well-conceived solos. She plays with the freshness and extended logic conception of Bud Powell, but cuts Wynton Kelly and Horace Silver in the strength of her playing, the irresistible impact of her emotion, and the deep sureness of her beat.
In 1958, just as she was emerging as an original voice, as an exciting asset to the contemporary scene, Terry Pollard retired from her full-time music career in order to raise a family. Still, she continued to play locally in Detroit, where she led a fine trio at the Hobby Bar, and performed with visiting artists.
1. Where Or When - 3:11 2. The More I See You - 4:19 3. Stompin’ At the Savoy - 2:12 4. Lonely Dreams - 4:01 5. Almost Like Being in Love - 3:20 6. I’ll Remember April - 4:54 7. Laura - 3:56 8. Scrapple from the Apple - 5:10 9. Mean To Me - 3:00 10. Dicky’s Dream - 7:04 11. Emaline - 3:44 12. Nutty Notes - 5:52 13. Autumn Serenade - 6:02 14. Pretty Face - 4:08 15. Then It Happens - 4:04 16. Fedj - 3:49 17. It Could Happen To You - 5:20 18. Blue Room (Rodgers-Hart) 2:52
Tracks # 1,2,5,7,8,11,13 & 16, from the 10-inch album “Terry Pollard” (Bethlehem BCP-1015)
Tracks #4,10,12 & 14, from the 12-inch album “Terry Gibbs” (EmArcy MG 36047)
Tracks #6,9 & 15, from the 12-inch album “Terry Gibbs –Mallets-A-Plenty” (EmArcy MG 36075)
Tracks # 3 & 17, from the 12-inch album “Dick Garcia –A Message from Garcia” (Dawn DLP-1106)
Track 18, from the 7-inch EP “Billy Mitchell Quintet” (Dee Gee EP 4009)
on "Terry Pollard":
Howard Roberts, guitar; Herman Wright, bass; Frank DeVito, drums; Don Fagerquist, trumpet (#5,13,16).
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, January 10, 1955
on "Terry Gibbs" & "Mallets-A-Plenty":
Terry Gibbs, vibes; Herman Wright, bass; Niels Dahlander (#4, 10, 12, 14), Jerry Segal (#6, 9, 15), drums
Recorded in New York City, Sept. 14, 1955 (#4,10,12,14), June 15, 1956 (#6,9,15)
on "A Message from Garcia":
Gene Quill, alto sax; Dick Garcia, guitar; Bill Anthony, bass; Frank Isola, drums.
Recorded in New York City, 1956
on "Billy Mitchell Quintet":
Thad Jones, trumpet; Billy Mitchell, tenor sax; Alvin Jackson, bass; Elvin Jones, drums
Recorded in Detroit, 1953
1. www.jazzwax.com - Marc Myers - March 14, 2018
"Somewhere out there in the Detroit region there are unreleased tapes of Terry Pollard. The accomplished female pianist and vibraphonist recorded only one studio album as a leader. Terry Pollard was recorded for Bethlehem in Los Angeles in January 1955. She began her recording career in the early 1950s in Billy Mitchell's Detroit quintet. Then thanks to the keen eyes and ears of vibraphonist and bandleader Terry Gibbs, she joined his band and recorded seven albums with him from 1953 to 1956. She also appeared on TV with him that year. In 1958, Pollard retired from her music career to raise a family but in the years that followed she led a trio at Detroit's Hobby Bar and performed with touring artists.
Someone must have tapes of her playing at the Hobby Bar. Hopefully label gumshoes who specialize in unearthing such unreleased gems will find recordings by Pollard, who is woefully undocumented. For now, Fresh Sound Records has just remastered in mono (24 bit) Pollard's Bethlehem leadership album as well as select recordings as a sidewoman.
Chronologically, this Fresh Sound album begins with Blue Room, which Pollard recorded with Billy Mitchell (ts), Thad Jones (tp), Pollard (p,vib), Alvin Jackson (b) and Elvin Jones (d). Then comes It Could Happen to You and Stompin' at the Savoy from Dick Garcia's A Message From Garcia,featuring Gene Quill (as), Pollard (p), Garcia (g), Bill Anthony (b) and Frank Isola (d).
The next eight tracks are from Terry Pollard on Bethlehem from January 1955, featuring Don Fagerquist (tp), Pollard (p), Howard Roberts (g), Herman Wright (b) and Frank DeVito (d). The Bethlehem cover, featured only a series of blurry lights, which I suppose allowed buyers to think Pollard was a white male, which was more marketable than an African-American woman. The back did not include a photo either.
Every track on this Fresh Sound release is a joy, and the remastering makes the album a must own. Pollard, Hazel Scott and Marian McPartland were queens of the jazz piano in the 1950s. Pollard also was vibes royalty. As for Mary Lou Williams, she was in a league of her own.
Terry Pollard died in 2009.
2. www.jazzweekly.com - George W. Harris - March 22, 2018
"In this present era of atonal naval gazing at the ivories, this reissue by Fresh Sound Records remind us of a time and style when the swing pulse was inherent in every tune, be it upbeat or relaxed and casual.
Terry Pollard was part of the Detroit jazz scene of the 40s and 50s, never making a major name for herself outside the Motor City. This album (with illuminating liner notes to put her career into perspective) has her in a variety of soulful bop settings from the early to mid 50s with the likes of Howard Roberts/g, Herman Wright/b, Frank DeVito-Jerry Segal/dr, Terry Gibbs/vib and Don Fagerquist/tp. Her bop chops are in full light as she sizzles on tight trio pieces such as “Where or When,” “Scrapple From the Apple” and shows grace on “Lonely Dreams” and romance for “Laura.” With Fagerqust’s hip horn the team bounces on the Latin “Autumn Serenade” while with Gene Qull’s floating alto, the band swings on “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” Best of all is the closer “Blue Room with the formidable company of Thad Jones/tp, Billy Mitchell/ts, Alvin Jackson/b and Elvin Jones/dr on a hip and delightful “Blue Room.” This lady’s a cooker!"