So I spent this evening multitasking , with part of me watching the Phils squeak one out against the Diamondbacks, another part reading C.J. Box’s new book Nowhere to Run and part of me still looking for new jazz musicians (at least to me). This time I was looking for new vibraphonists! Last night I was looking for young vibes players and came across Stefon Harris and Blackout and I listened to some of their album Urbanus. Liking what I heard I was planning on listening to the whole album tonight, but in true Edward fashion I looked back at the Roots Music Chart and saw that at number 19 and rising was an album Vibes: Straight Up by Steve Hobbs so I went to Rhapsody and while they didn’t have that album they did have the his album Spring Cycle released in 2005. The players forming the Steve Hobbs Quartet in addition to Hobbs include: pianist Bill O’Connell, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer John Riley. The following from Steve’s website tells about the album better than I can:
“Steve Hobbs has long been one of the most talented if underrated vibraphonists around, and his playing recalls Bobby Hutcherson at times but also displays his own musical personality. On Spring Cycle, he performs five of his originals, three songs by pianist Bill O’Connell, and a couple standards. Performing with a core quartet including O’Connell, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer John Riley, Hobbs takes “On the Street Where You Live” and his own ballad “Jean” as showcases for the rhythm section. He welcomes trumpeter Tom Harrell and tenor saxophonist Bob Malach to most of the other selections, flutist Dave Valentine is on “Blued Swings” and “Para Mis Padres,” and percussionist Steve Berrios sits in on the latter. The music ranges from hard bop to post-bop and contains its fair share of variety. While the odds are that none of the originals will catch on as future standards, they serve as viable vehicle for improvisation and the musicians are all in top form, particularly Harrell and Hobbs. This solid modern jazz set is easily recommended.”
Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
What I do know is that I really liked what I heard, particularly “Para Mis Padres” which was really great! Here’s another press quote from the website:
Steve Hobbs does not sound derivative of his predecessors (Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, or Gary Burton); he has carved out his own identity on vibes and marimba.” Scott Yanow, Jazziz, July 1996
I did find the album Vibes, Straight Up on emusic but unfortunately I only have 3 downloads left so I downloaded tracks with an Americana feel. I downloaded and listened to “St. James Infirmary”, “Shenandoah” and “Wade in the Water” and they all sounded great to me! So I think I have a new vibes player to listen to at work!
Oh, I also listened a little to Stefon Harris’ Urbanus album which sounds really different in a good way! So I’ll listen to it some more before reporting!
Here’s a video
and while I was looking for Steve Hobbs I found this video of the Chizhik-jazz quartet. Jazz is a universal language and these guys seem to speak it fluently!