Thursday, April 11, 2013

Manhattan Vibes, Blue November

If you've found yourself liking Gary Burton's vibes-centered version of contemporary jazz/jazz-rock over the years, you'll like that Blue November (Emarel 003) by Manhattan Vibes extends that tradition into the '10s. Christos Rafalides prevails on vibes and marimba and has the harmonic, chord-spelling sophistication of Burton with some of the two-mallet direct soulfulness of Milt "Bags" Jackson.

We have a quartet doing Christos originals, which are worthy blowing frameworks with finesse, plus a couple of standards. Joining Rafalides is pianist Sergio Salvatore, acoustic bassist Mike Pope and drummer Vince Cherico.

It's a welcome emergence of a real-deal vibesman and a very cohesive group doing some nice music. Fair enough?

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