Harry "The Hipster" Gibson

Harry "The Hipster" Gibson (June 27, 1915-May 3, 1991) was a jazz pianist, singer, and songwriter. Gibson played New York style Stride piano and boogie woogie while singing in an unrestrained, wild style. His music career began in the late 1920s, when he played stride piano in Dixieland jazz bands in Harlem. He continued to perform there throughout the 1930s, adding the barrelhouse boogie of the time to his repertoire, and was discovered by Fats Waller in 1939. ...show more

Harry "The Hipster" Gibson (June 27, 1915-May 3, 1991) was a jazz pianist, singer, and songwriter. Gibson played New York style Stride piano and boogie woogie while singing in an unrestrained, wild style. His music career began in the late 1920s, when he played stride piano in Dixieland jazz bands in Harlem. He continued to perform there throughout the 1930s, adding the barrelhouse boogie of the time to his repertoire, and was discovered by Fats Waller in 1939.

Between 1939 and 1945, he played at various Manhattan jazz clubs on 52nd Street ("Swing Street"), most notably the Deuces, run by Leon Enkin and Eddie Davis. In the 1940s, Gibson was known for writing unusual songs, which are considered ahead of their time. He was also known for his unique, wild singing style, his energetic and unorthodox piano styles, and for his intricate mixture of a hardcore, gutbucket boogie rhythms with ragtime, stride and jazz piano styles. Gibson took the boogie woogie beat of his predecessors, but he made it frantic; similar to the rock and roll music of the 1950s.

Examples of his wild style are found in the songs "Riot in Boogie" and "Barrelhouse Boogie". An example of his strange singing style is in the song "The Baby and the Pup." Other songs that Gibson recorded were "Handsome Harry, the Hipster", "I Stay Brown All Year 'Round", "Get Your Juices at the Deuces", and "Stop That Dancin' Up There." Gibson recorded a great deal, but there are very few visual examples of his act. However, in New York in 1944, he filmed three songs for the Soundies film jukeboxes, and he went to Hollywood in 1946 to guest star in the feature-length film musical Junior Prom. Gibson preceded the first white rock and rollers by a decade, but the Soundies he recorded show significant similarities to rock and roll. ...show less

Albums & Singles by Harry "The Hipster" Gibson