The rebirth of the vibraphone as a tool for creative music making has been a long time coming. Like the clarinet, it had to lose its nerdishness to gain acceptance. Artists like Jason Adasiewicz, Matt Moran and the Swedish-born Matthais Ståhl are making the vibes as relevant today as the mid-sixties and 1970s work of Khan Jamal and Bobby Hutcherson.
Like the revival of the clarinet from the likes of Chris Speed, Ken Vandermark, and Don Byron, the vibraphone mallets in the hands of Ståhl fashion improvised music that sheds any notion his instrument belongs to an older generation.
That said, Jag Skulle Bara Gå Ut loosely translated as "I would just go out," suggests out-jazz as an operating system. Together with bassist Joe Williamson ( Sven Ake Johansson) and drummer Christopher Cantillo (The Invonvenience) the vibes spark to life in a refreshed reanimation throughout. Opening with "The Mooche" Duke Ellington's vehicle for Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley, Ståhl plays a simple melody while Cantillo scrapes cymbals and rattles chains, and rubs his skins. The piece progresses with a trudging sawed bass and cartoon nostalgia for once popular music. Ståhl is more a percussive player than melodic, think Adasiewicz instead of Milt Jackson.
Ståhl does though, have a way with melody. He opens "Skobonka/The Healing Properties Of The Orb Were Found To Be Exaggerated" with a classical/chamber four mallet sound that would be welcome in a concert hall. The shaping of a song like "I Was Only Going Out" is, in its stripped down way, quite beautiful, and not unlike the feel of Sonny Rollins' A Night At The Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1957). Cantillo is a busy drummer, swarming accents and observations. The music maintains an exuberance. Williamson's bass anchors pieces like "Undervattensvals (From "Bamse")" and "The Siamese Twin" with rock- solid pulled strings, and soaring bow work on the open-ended "Formaldehyde." The disc ends with a Sun Ra's composition "Satellites Are Spinning" that is actually a nice tribute to Walt Dickerson. The trio gifts the listeners with a spaceways celebration of this classic melody.
Track Listing: The Mooche; Sonny Boy Williamson; Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby;
Formaldehyde; Skobonka/The Healing Properties Of The Orb Were Found To Be Exaggerated;
Undervattensvals (From “Bamse”); 10 Augusti; The Siamese Twin; I Was Only Going Out;
Satellites Are Spinning.
Personnel: Mattias Ståhl: Vibraphone; Williamson: Bass; Christopher Cantillo: Drums.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.