Most people don’t know what a vibraphone is. Why should they? The vibraphone (sometimes called a vibraharp and more often just called “the vibes”) is a niche taste. Classical music has no role for it, and in pop music it once flavored a batch of Motown hits, but that’s it. The obscure theremin, with its leading role in hit songs like the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”, is probably better known.
Recently, however, the instrument has grown in range and application in jazz. Read my full column on the topic, Sympathetic Vibrations, HERE.
Recent releases demonstrating great work on vibes include Chris Dingman's Waking Dreams, the latest from Gary Burton, and a wondrous new record from John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, among others.