Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Manhattan Vibes - Blue November (Emarel Music, 2013)

Manhattan Vibes is a slick but not smooth mainstream jazz outfit consisting of Christos Rafalides on vibraphone, Sergio Salvatore on piano, Mike Pope on bass and Vince Cherico drums. Rafalides has an interesting pedigree, moving from Greece to the United States to study music and getting turned on to jazz, and eventually studying with the renowned jazz vibist Joe Locke for his graduate degree. So the musicians bring a lot of cultural weight to the proceedings and it works well with elements of island music present on the infectious opener “718” which has a light and nimble joy to it, channeling a vibe akin to Sonny Rollins compositions like “Don’t Stop the Carnival.” “Sorayia” has a quick and deft touch that allows the band to lock into a groove, centered around Pope’s bass, which is featured on a well realized solo. This disc is pleasant sounding and accessible from a group that is establishing their own niche and individual sound. This album has a contemporary jazz feel, building from the foundation of something that the Caribbean Jazz Project would play. Blue November -

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