Terry Pollard

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Terry Pollard (August 15, 1931 – December 16, 2009) was an American jazz pianist and vibraphonist active in the Detroit jazz scene of the 1940s and 1950s. She has been described as a "major player who was inexplicably overlooked."[1]

Pollard began her career by collaborating with other Detroit musicians, such as Billy Mitchell (and Elvin Jones, in the house band at the Blue Bird Inn),[2] Johnny Hill, and the Emmitt Slay Trio.[3] She was discovered by Terry Gibbs and toured with him in the early 1950s, playing piano and vibraphone. They recorded several albums, including Terry Gibbs Quartet - Featuring Terry Pollard.[4] Pollard appeared with Gibbs on an episode of The Tonight Show hosted by Steve Allen.[5] Her collaborations with Gibbs from 1953 to 1957 marked the height of her career.[6][3]

Pollard also performed with John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.[5]

Pollard recorded a self-titled solo album for Bethlehem Records in 1955 and won Down Beat magazine's New Artist award in 1956. Pollard retired from her full-time music career shortly thereafter in order to raise a family, but she continued to play locally in Detroit and performed with artists including Diana Ross and the Supremes.[5] She was inducted into the Michigan Jazz Hall of Fame.[7]

Her contributions to the mid-century Detroit jazz scene were recognized in the book Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit 1920-1960, by Lars Bjorn and Jim Gallert.[5]


  • Terry Pollard Quintet (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • Terry Pollard And Her Septet: Cats vs. Chicks (A Jazz Battle Of The Sexes) (album shared with Clark Terry, 1954)

With Terry Gibbs

  • Terry (Brunswick, 1954 [1955])
  • Terry Gibbs [AKA Terry Gibbs Quartet Featuring Terry Pollard] (EmArcy 1955)
  • Mallets-A-Plenty (EmArcy 1956)
  • Swingin' with Terry Gibbs and His Orchestra (EmArcy, 1957)

With Yusef Lateef

With Dorothy Ashby

With Don Fagerquist

  • Portrait of a Great Jazz Artist (2005)[8]


  1. ^ Chell, Samuel (23 October 2007). "Terry Gibbs: Terry Gibbs Quartet Featuring Terry Pollard (2007)". All About Jazz. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  2. ^ Björn, Lars Olof (2001) Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-60, p. 126. University of Michigan Press At Google Books. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Terry Pollard: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Terry Gibbs Quartet - Featuring Terry Pollard - Terry Gibbs - Blues Sounds". Freshsoundrecords.com. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Everett, Aubrey (1931-08-15). "Jazz Articles: Jazz Pianist Terry Pollard Dies at 78 - By Aubrey Everett — Jazz Articles". Jazztimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  6. ^ Cotterrell, Roger. ‘Terry Pollard: Vibe Virtuoso’ Jazz Journal, vol 71, no 5 (May 2018), 40.
  7. ^ "Terry Pollard, Detroit-born jazz pianist succumbs to long illness". The Michigan Citizen. March 22, 2012. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. ^ "Terry Pollard | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2016.