Khaeon Records continues its Latin vibe with the release of percussionist Christos Rafalides' Manhattan Vibes. Previous label releases in the Latin vein include John Benitez's (bassist on the present recording) Descarga in New York (KWM 200101), and Carlos Barbosa-Lima's Mambo No. 5 (KWM 200201, both fine recordings, the latter making my "best of:" list for 2001. Manhattan Vibes demonstrates the characteristics of Latin-influenced jazz where the spacing and accent on musical notes takes precedence over the notes themselves. Rafalides' is music of movement. Wholly percussion-oriented Manhattan Vibes throbs from one piece to the next. Rafalides accomplishes this from a variety of perspectives. On the opening "Flamingo" Mary Wormworth provides a Latin-"Creole Love Call" vocalese. Randy Brecker's muted horn slides right in to the groove of "Strut" (his open bell shines later on "C.R.@.S.H") as does Vinny Valentino's dirty electric guitar.
Christos Rafalides' mallets are warmly tropical on his originals and prove well suited for Ellington's "Caravan" and "All The Things You Are." He is able to emote the tenderness of ballads and the bumpiness of the upbeat, all in the same measure. Milt Jackson, Rafalides is not. Nor does he need or aspire to be. Christos Rafalides is forging a new direction for the vibraphone/marimba, one that ricochets off of the likes of Joe Locke, Bill Ware, Stefon Harris and Gary Burton. Rhythmically driven and spatially exact, Christos Rafalides' music reaches deep into the Latin consciousness and pulls out the perfect vibe.
Track Listing: Flamingo Strut; Pocket; La Esencia Del Guanguanco; Fool On The Hill; C.R.@.S.H.; Tango Fantasy In C; Caravan; Estate; All The Things You Are; Sweet. (Total Time: 47.19).
Personnel: Christos Rafalides: Percussion; John Benitez: Bass; Steve Hass Drums; Randy Brecker: Trumpet; Vinny Valentino Guitar; Mary Wormworth: Vocals; Luisito Qunitero: percussion.
I grew up listening to my father's Jazz records and listening to radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's Jazz records and listening to radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.