Terry Pollard, 1931-2009

Terry Pollard was a gifted pianist whose ability paralleled that of her fellow Detroiters Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris. She shared their grasp of the bebop vocabulary and, some admirers claimed, swung even harder. I became aware of her when she recorded with the vibraharpist Terry Gibbs in the early 1950s. She is with Gibbs on this album, one of her few recordings. In the picture below, which I pirated from the photo section of Bill Crow’s web site, Ms. Pollard is at Birdland with Gibbs, Crow and drummer Frank Di Vito.
Pollard with Gibbs.jpg
For more on Terry Pollard, see Mark Stryker’s column in today’s Detroit Free Press.

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  1. Bill Crow says

    I ran into Barry Harris in a NYC sushi bar last week, and he told me that Terry was in a nursing home here in the city. I was going to get the address from him, but was too late. Terry was a dear girl. When we played together with Terry Gibbs’s quartet, we had great times.
    This photo, from Birdland, around 1953, was taken while we were playing opposite the Basie band, where I first made friends with Joe Newman, Gus Johnson, Benny Powell, Frank Foster and Frank Wess. In the 1960s Joe became my roommate on the Benny Goodman tour of the Soviet Union, and I got Gerry Mulligan to hire Gus for the GM quartet and Concert Jazz Band.
    (The “Open Country” video two exhibits down shows Bull Ruther and Gus Johnson having a great time, and great time, with Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer. — DR)

  2. says

    I met Terry when I was 19 in LA–she was with Terry Gibbs still right before she left his group and I believe Pat Moran, an LA woman pianist, took her place. Terry had two other women pianists besides Terry–one was Alice Coltrane before she was Alice Coltrane.
    I was so youthfully attracted to Terry Pollard that night I had to find the cool to go up and shake her hand and give her my adoration for her playing and her looks–she was pretty besides being supertalented–she was sitting at a table with the drummer and maybe Bill Crow was in that version of Gibbs’s band though I think it was Whitey or Red Mitchell playing with the band that night. Terry was a brilliant pianist–growing up in Detroit in those days playing the piano, you had to be good.
    I, too, was shocked to learn Terry had been here in NYC all these years–I, too, had I known, would have made a pilgrimage to see her.
    One of the swingingest albums ever is Terry Gibbs’s Emarcy LP “Terry Gibbs Quartet Featuring Terry Pollard.” “Seven Come Eleven” on that album is a kick-ass drivin’ delight! Terry Pollard at her best.