Terry Pollard

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Terry Pollard (August 15, 1931 – December 16, 2009) was a jazz pianist and vibraphonist prominent 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. She recorded an album with him, 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.[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 the Down Beat Magazine 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 visiting artists, including Diana Ross and the Supremes.[5] She was inducted into the Michigan Jazz Hall of Fame.[6]

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]


With Clark Terry

  • Clark Terry (1954)

With Terry Gibbs

  • Terry Gibbs (Brunswick, 1955) (Emarcy 1956)
  • 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)[7]


  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 2013-09-05. 
  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. ^ "Terry Pollard, Detroit-born jazz pianist succumbs to long illness". The Michigan Citizen. March 22, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Terry Pollard | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2016.