Leonard William “Doc” Gibbs, who was a master percussionist, died on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. Gibbs was 73.
Gibbs performed with some legendary artists in the music industry such as Grover Washington, Jr., Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Bob James, George Benson, Nancy Wilson, Al Jarreau, Ricki Lee Jones, Wyclef Jean, Erykah Badu, Eric Benet and other musicians of various genres.
He is also known for being the musical director for Emeril Live! hosted by chef Emeril Lagasse. Gibbs was an elected member of the Philadelphia chapter Board of Governors of the National Association of Recording Artists and Sciences.
Known as “Baba Doc” in the Yoruba/Orisa community, Gibbs was a priest of Obatala for more than 35 years and was one of the tradition’s highly-respected and revered sacred bata drummers.
For the past twenty-five years, he has been a dedicated educator, teaching the arts of hand-drumming and percussion. In Philadelphia, he worked with two organizations presenting music in schools, Musicopia and Artreach.
In 2015, he relocated to Los Angeles bring his knowledge and experience to the West Coast, once again getting involved in teaching drum and percussion instruments. In LA, he also created Baba Doc’s Healing Sound therapy, a practice that uses percussion as a form of healing and reconnecting.
In 2011, he was honored at “Skin on Skins: Where it All Began,” a salute to the elder African drummers at Church of the Advocate, which included Baba Robert “Bobby” Crowder and Luther Robert “Bobby” Artis who both have made transition.
In the spirit of Obatala, the Great Father Orisa of Peace, Baba Doc co-founded the organization “Drums for Peace,” which seeks to invoke the power of percussion in support of global harmony.
Gibbs was a Philadelphia native who attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art prior to going into the music business.
Gibbs had moved from California to Oregon where he made his transition. No word on his services at this time.