Tom Beckham has a refreshing approach to the vibraphone. He plays it with a gentle ear for harmony and development, with ideas that are wrapped in crystalline notes. Beckham resides in New York where he teaches and plays. The latter has seen him as part of bands led by Michael Musillami and Sam Bardfield as well as in collaborations with artists including Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Michael Blake. Rebound is his third release as a leader.
The music, all of which was composed by Beckham, takes on varied shades. His sense of time and rhythm, combined with his extrapolations on chords, lead to some interesting music.
"Tethered" serves as a fine opener, acknowledging Beckham's ability to carve a niche for his writing and then take it out and give it a new semblance. Pace is in constant flux, with Chris Cheek upping it on saxophone as he lays down a slew of buoyant ideas. Henry Hey stays in the zone on the piano, but when Beckham comes in, the pace slows down and the band takes the tune out with a warm empathy.
Beckham invests a lot of space into the head of "Cee's and Dee's" before he rolls into the melody. He seeps it in delicacy, as opposed to Cheek who cuts in deep, each line a furrow into the melodic soul of the composition. Cheek's ability to change pulse and direction seamlessly develops the tune to a nicety. He is complemented first by Hey and then by Beckham, who lights up the path with his translucent presence.
An undercurrent of Brazilian rhythm informs "World Cup." It's an inviting tune that draws attention no sooner than when Beckham traipses in. His explorations are vibrant and colorful and, with Cheek taking a breathy tangent, this is one sweet, tangy outing.
Track Listing: Tethered; In Flight; Tiny Star; Parting the Water; Carnival; World Cup; Cee's and Dee's; Grillin'.
Personnel: Tom Beckham: vibraphone; Chris Cheek: saxophones; Henry Hey: piano; Matt Clohesy: bass; Ferenc Nemeth: drums.
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the 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 the 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.