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After Hours by Vibes Alive

This second release from Vibes Alive, according to vibist and composer Dirk Richter, is about "going back to the basics of creating tasty music where rhythm and tonality are the flavor." Richter brings the vibes back into the jazz scene with captivating, melodious grooves. Joined by guitarist/composer Randall Crissman and a superb lineup of musicians, the sound is invigorating and sweet.

Tracks of note are "Lighthouse," where Richter’s prowess on the vibes melds together with Crissman’s smooth guitar and synth bass, Lorber on the Wurlitzer electric piano, Conte on percussion and Colaiuta on drums. The band offers up a solid, steady groove here. The title cut is a more laid back, relaxing jaunt. Meek on saxophone offers up an enticing solo performance. "Lunch Truck," track 4, is a funky romp with an infectious sound and highlighted by Lorber on clavinet and Jimmy Johnson on bass.

"Sambahia" is a wild, passionate ride featuring a stellar flute performance by Meek. This track has lots of passion and fire and the band flows together seamlessly, led by Richter’s enchanting vibes. A rolling, hypnotic groove carries "Bright Lights,"along with Crissman’s charged guitar solos standing out and Summers’ trumpet accentuating the intensity.

The last track "Blew Blues" is a completely charming mix of blues and jazz with Smith’s bass carrying the tune along with nice guitar work by Crissman and Richter’s sparkling vibes. Each musician takes a turn at soloing and the result is a smashing improvisational collaboration.

The return of the vibraphone is long overdue. Vibes Alive is keeping the sound going and After Hours might prove to be ushering in a whole new generation of smooth jazz featuring this worthy instrument.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Vibes Alive
  • CD Title: After Hours
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Swingding Records
  • Tracks: Lighthouse, After Hours, Hard to Say Goodbye, Lunch Truck, Open Door, Sambahia, In the Garden, Bright Lights, Magnolia, Walk Away, Blew Blues
  • Musicians: Dirk Richter (vibes, keyboards), Randall Crissman (guitar, synth bass), Jeff Lorber (synthesizer, Wurlitzer electric piano), Gary Meek (sax & flute), Luis Conte (percussion), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Jimmy Johnson (bass), Putter Smith (acoustic bass), Bob Summers (trumpet)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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